During the spring of 1998 most of the pay agreements in Norway are to be
renegotiated. It is anticipated that the right to further education and
training will be a central issue during this year's settlement.
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.
Against the background of increasing mass unemployment, and following
legislation in 1996, partial retirement (Altersteilzeit) has become a very
prominent bargaining issue between the German social partners (DE9708224F
). According to a recent study by the Institute for Economics and Social
Science (Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliches Institut, WSI) there are
now 15 branch-level collective agreements and several company agreements on
partial retirement covering altogether about 5 million employees.
In May 1997, the group of experts on "European systems of worker
involvement", known as the Davignon group, after its chair, issued its report
 (EU9705128N ). The group had been set up by the European Commission
essentially to suggest ways of breaking the deadlock on worker involvement
measures which had blocked the adoption of the European Company Statute for
many years. The report set out recommendations for the information,
consultation and board-level participation of employees in the European
Company (SE), which were then largely taken up by the Luxembourg EU
Presidency of the second half of 1997 in a new draft version of the Statute
A survey of 374 organisations by the recruitment company, Reed Personnel,
conducted prior to Christmas 1997, showed that the number of companies
opening on Christmas Day has grown by a third over the past decade.
Traditionally only organisations such as hospitals, the emergency services,
hotels, telephone operator services and the media worked on Christmas Day,
but this has now extended to the service sector in general and even to some
manufacturing establishments. The service sector showed the largest increase
in the proportion of establishments opening, up from 6% to 8% over the
decade, while manufacturing rose from zero to 1%.
Following demonstrations and work stoppages in December 1997, employers and
trade unions in Belgium's not-for-profit sector have submitted a joint
declaration to the Government calling for increased financing for employment.
The UK Labour Government is committed by its election manifesto to obliging
employers to recognise a trade union where this is supported in a ballot by
employees (UK9704125F ). Details of how the Government intends to
implement this proposal are expected in a White Paper on "fairness at work"
to be issued in early 1998, and legislation is planned for the 1998-9
parliamentary session. As part of the policy-making process, government
ministers have encouraged the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the
Trades Union Congress (TUC) to engage in talks to resolve some of the
practical problems raised by recognition legislation, making it clear that an
agreed approach is likely to prove persuasive. The Government also indicated
that if the two sides failed to agree it would proceed to issue its own
proposals. Discussions between the CBI and TUC took place during the autumn
of 1997 and concluded in early December with the publication of a joint
statement identifying not only issues on which the parties could agree but
also significant areas of continuing disagreement.
1997 was a year with few industrial conflicts in Norway, according to
recently published statistics. The six-week strike on mobile oil
installations in the North Sea during the autumn was the only major labour
dispute during 1997.
At the 1995 congress of the Austrian Trade Union Federation
(Österreichischer Gewerkschaftsbund, ÖGB) its member trade unions decided
to reorganise. The goal is to reduce the number of individual trade unions
from 14 to three, covering manufacturing, services, and public service. There
is no clear time-limit for the process. In the first two years little was
achieved by way of obvious results, but 1998 promises to bring the first of
these. On 21 January 1998 two trade unions, the Union of Printing and Paper
Workers (Gewerkschaft Druck und Papier) and the Union of Posts and
Telecommunications Employees (Gewerkschaft der Post- und
Fernmeldebediensteten) concluded a cooperation agreement. They are forming a
jointly and proportionately financed platform to decide policy measures and a
joint steering committee with proportional representation. The rationale is
the unions' shared activity in the media sector. By 2000, they want to unite
their offices in one location. A full merger in the future is not ruled out,
neither is it explicitly planned. According to press reports, the ÖGB's
president commented that a merger might have been the result if the ÖGB
could have taken decisions like a joint stock company.
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.
Eurofound's representativness 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 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.
This report offers a backward look at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the work and life of Europeans. The main focus is on Eurofound’s e-survey ‘ Living, working and COVID-19’ which was launched on 9 April 2020 just after the onset of the crisis. Through four rounds of the survey (two in 2020 and two in 2021), the range of questions changed to match the evolving situation and to understand the effects on the everyday lives of citizens and workers.
This report explores the drivers of economic and social convergence in Europe, using a selected set of economic and social indicators to examine trends in the performance of individual Member States. It also investigates what role the Economic and Monetary Union plays in convergence, particularly in southern and eastern Member States. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on convergence is analysed and initial conclusions are drawn about the impact of EU recovery packages and their ability to prevent divergence.
Platform work – the matching of supply of and demand for paid labour through an online platform or app – is gaining increasing importance in Europe. It has attracted policy attention due to its inherent opportunities and challenges. Across Europe, initiatives have been introduced by governments, social partners and grassroots organisations aimed at harnessing the potential and reducing the risks of this employment form. The areas covered include regulation, representation, advice and information provision, as well as measures addressing social protection, ratings and training.
The use of artificial intelligence, advanced robotics and the Internet of Things technologies in the workplace can bring about fundamental changes in work organisation and working conditions. This report analyses the ethical and human implications of the use of these technologies at work by drawing on qualitative interviews with policy stakeholders, input from the Network of Eurofound Correspondents and Delphi expert surveys, and case studies.