The political debate on employment policies in Belgium grew bitter just
before the Christmas break at the end of 1997. Recommendations on government
policies made by the new Higher Council for Employment provoked the anger of
the leaders of the two main trade union organisations and some critical
declarations from the chief executive of the employers' federation.
In December 1997 and January 1998, France has seen a growing wave of protests
by unemployed people, which has grown from specific local actions into a
nationwide movement. The demands of the protesters have challenged both the
Government and the trade unions which co-manage the unemployment insurance
fund, and raised basic questions about the collective representation of
unemployed people and the financial support for those unemployed long-term.
In an interview on national Norwegian television in January 1998, the
Minister of Labour and Government Administration, Eldbjørg Løwer, called
for the lifting of the ban on private employment agencies (reported in
/Aftenposten/ on 9 January 1998). Speaking in general terms about the
contemporary labour market situation in Norway, she recognised the need to
modernise the present system of regulations on private employment agencies as
well as on the temporary secondment of employees from one firm to another
(NO9708118F ). Ms Løwer envisages a reversal of the present legal
arrangements in both areas. The prohibitions on private employment agencies
and on the temporary secondment of employees from one company to another
should be abolished, while alternative restrictions may be put on certain
types of occupational groups, and on the quota of workers on "lease" in any
given firm or company.
In a resolution  adopted by its executive committee on 5 December 1997,
the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) expresses its belief that a
well-defined, strategic social policy Action Programme is essential in
underpinning the present phase of European integration and enlargement. It is
argued that without a social dimension, the political and economic objectives
of the EU, such as a high level of employment and social protection, equality
between men and women and the combating of social exclusion and
discrimination cannot be fully realised.
/The December 1995 framework agreement on parental leave was the first such
accord between the EU-level social partners, and was given legal force by a
Council Directive in June 1996. This comparative study: outlines current
parental leave provisions in the Member States (plus Norway); examines the
perceptions of the framework agreement/Directive and the changes it requires
in national provisions; and assesses the practical impact of current parental
leave provisions and the likely effect of the agreement/Directive./
At the end of December 1997, the Institute of Personnel and Development (IPD)
- the professional body for personnel managers - launched its /Management of
equality/ awards. These will be awarded annually by the Equal Opportunities
Commission (EOC), the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) and the Employers'
Forum on Disability (EFD) to students taking IPD qualifications who come up
with creative solutions to the problems of equal opportunities.
On 7 January 1998 the metalworkers' trade union, IG Metall, and the Steel
Employers' Association (Arbeitgeberverband Stahl) signed a new collective
agreement for the about 8,000 employees in the east German steel industry.
The collective bargaining parties agreed on a flat-rate payment of DEM 330
for the period October 1997 to December 1997 and a 2.6% wage increase from
The Austrian Trade Union Federation (Österreichischer Gewerkschaftsbund,
ÖGB) has launched a campaign in 1998 to make good on one of its
long-standing demands: the removal of the remaining legal differences between
wage earners/blue-collar workers (Arbeiter) and salary earners/white-collar
workers (Angestellten). In the late 1970s, equality in holiday regulations
and severance pay was achieved. Now ÖGB wants regulations concerning wage
earners' payment during sickness and dismissal notice periods to be brought
up to salary earner standards. The ÖGB sees this as the final phase of a
historical social policy project. The Austrian Chamber of the Economy
(Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, WKÖ) has made it clear it opposes any
measure that would increase total wage costs, this being one of the hottest
issues between social partners at national level. By the WKÖ's reckoning,
upward equalisation would cost ATS 10 billion per year, while the ÖGB
estimates the net cost to be about ATS 1 billion per year. There are 1.3
million wage earners on annual average, about 43% of total employment.
Following a long dispute, in December 1997 employees at Electrabel, the
Belgian electricity-distribution company, approved an agreement that focuses
on the reduction of working hours and on recruitment.
The number of working days lost through strikes in France in 1996 decreased
sharply from the number recorded in 1995, according to figures published in
late 1997. Rates are now back to levels registered in the early 1990s.
Eurofound's representativeness studies are designed to allow the European Commission to identify the ‘management and labour’ whom it must consult under article 154 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). This series consists of studies of the representativeness of employer and worker organisations in various sectors.
This series reports on developments in minimum wage rates across the EU, including how they are set and how they have developed over time in nominal and real terms. The series explores where there are statutory minimum wages or collectively agreed minimum wages in the Member States, as well as minimum wage coverage rates by gender.
Eurofound’s work on COVID-19 examines the far-reaching socioeconomic implications of the pandemic across Europe as they continue to impact living and working conditions. A key element of the research is the e-survey, conducted in three rounds – in April and July 2020 and in March 2021. This is complemented by the inclusion of research into the ongoing effects of the pandemic in much of Eurofound’s other areas of work.
The European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) launched in 1990 and is carried out every five years, with the latest edition in 2015. It provides an overview of trends in working conditions and quality of employment for the last 30 years. It covers issues such as employment status, working time duration and organisation, work organisation, learning and training, physical and psychosocial risk factors, health and safety, work–life balance, worker participation, earnings and financial security, work and health, and most recently also the future of work.
The European Restructuring Monitor has reported on the employment impact of large-scale business restructuring since 2002. This series includes its restructuring-related databases (events, support instruments and legislation) as well as case studies and publications.
Eurofound’s Flagship report series 'Challenges and prospects in the EU' comprise research reports that contain the key results of multiannual research activities and incorporate findings from different related research projects. Flagship reports are the major output of each of Eurofound’s strategic areas of intervention and have as their objective to contribute to current policy debates.
Eurofound’s European Company Survey (ECS) maps and analyses company policies and practices which can have an impact on smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, as well as the development of social dialogue in companies. This series consists of outputs from the ECS 2019, the fourth edition of the survey. The survey was first carried out in 2004–2005 as the European Survey on Working Time and Work-Life Balance.
This series reports on and updates latest information on the involvement of national social partners in policymaking. The series analyses the involvement of national social partners in the implementation of policy reforms within the framework of social dialogue practices, including their involvement in elaborating the National Reform Programmes (NRPs).
This series reports on the new forms of employment emerging across Europe that are driven by societal, economic and technological developments and are different from traditional standard or non-standard employment in a number of ways. This series explores what characterises these new employment forms and what implications they have for working conditions and the labour market.
The European Company Survey (ECS) is carried out every four to five years since its inception in 2004–2005, with the latest edition in 2019. The survey is designed to provide information on workplace practices to develop and evaluate socioeconomic policy in the EU. It covers issues around work organisation, working time arrangements and work–life balance, flexibility, workplace innovation, employee involvement, human resource management, social dialogue, and most recently also skills use, skills strategies and digitalisation.