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  • Article
    27 december 1997

    The Dutch economy continued to develop favourably in 1997. The level of
    economic growth stood at 3.3%, which is higher than the EU average. Although
    inflation in the Netherlands, at 2.2%, was considerably higher than the EU
    average, it was fairly stable. The General Government Financial Balance for
    1997 was -2.0% of GDP (NLG 14.2 billion - ECU 6.4 billion). Eurostat put
    public debt at 72.1% of GDP. Unemployment decreased significantly again in
    1997, and the number of unemployed persons stood at 336,000 (6.4%) in the
    last quarter of 1997.

  • Article
    27 december 1997

    The Finnish Medical Association (Suomen Lääkäriliitto, SLL) is one of the
    few trade unions that have decided not to approve the central incomes policy
    agreement, signed on 12 December 1997 by trade union and employers'
    confederations (FI9801145F [1]). The employers of the doctors concerned, the
    Commission for Local Authority Employers (Kunnallinen työmarkkinalaitos,
    KT), made a proposal for an agreement but the doctors decided to reject it.
    According to SLL, the proposal did not resolve the dispute concerning
    doctors' working hours. The income of medical doctors will decrease
    significantly in 1998 if they become fully subject the new Working Hours Act
    ( which has been in force from the beginning of 1997). Until now, no drastic
    changes have taken place due to local agreements. If these local agreements
    cannot be prolonged, the limitations of the Act will take full effect. The EU
    Directive on certain aspects of the organisation of working time [2]
    (93/104/EC) forbids long sessions of emergency duty and the doctors want the
    resulting loss of income to be compensated by increasing wages for normal
    working time. Previously, the pay of hospital doctors consisted to a large
    extent of remuneration for emergency duties.

    [1] www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/undefined/second-incomes-policy-agreement-for-employment-is-signed
    [2] http://europa.eu.int/comm/sg/scadplus/leg/en/cha/c10405.htm

  • Article
    27 december 1997

    At a tripartite meeting held on 17 December 1997 to discuss the spring 1998
    collective bargaining round, Danish government representatives advised the
    social partners to keep pay increases at a moderate level in order to
    stimulate job creation. However, the government representatives were
    reluctant to specify a precise figure for pay increases, stating that it was
    not the aim of government to tie the social partners to a certain figure or
    to intervene in the collective bargaining process, which they regarded as the
    sole prerogative of the social partners.

  • Article
    27 december 1997

    In recent years the Spanish economy has undergone a process of recovery.
    After the recession of the early 1990s, a cycle of growth began, parallel to
    that of other countries in the European Union. In 1997, GDP rose by 3.4% -
    compared with 2.1% in 1994, 2.8% in 1995 and 2.1% in 1996. This was mainly
    due to the increase in domestic consumption, investment and industrial
    activity and the resurgence of construction. The prospects for growth in 1998
    are also optimistic, with forecasts of around 3.6%. This has been
    particularly helped by the fall in inflation, which at 2.1% in 1997, was the
    lowest for 30 years. This low inflation rate has led to a reduction in
    interest rates, which were very high in the 1980s. The public deficit has
    also been reduced through restrictive budgets and privatisation of public
    companies (ES9709123N [1]). The public deficit stood at 2.6% of GDP in 1997.
    According to Eurostat figures, the unemployment rate stood at 20.8% in 1997,
    compared with 22.2% in 1996 and 24.3% in 1995. The number of those in
    employment increased by about 371,000 in 1997 in comparison with 1996.
    Nevertheless, fewer jobs were created than in the previous year, despite
    greater economic growth.

    [1] www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/a-new-step-in-the-privatisation-of-the-industrial-public-sector-in-spain

  • Article
    27 december 1997

    There are two inter-related factors within UK workplace relations which,
    arguably, are both caused by, and solvable by British managers. The first is
    an increase in workplace stress - the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), for
    example, has recently released figures (in its /Health and safety statistics
    1996/7/) showing that half a million people believe that they are suffering
    from work-related stress. The second is the need for high-performing
    companies. Both of these are in large part dependent on the type of managers
    within the workplace. All too often in the UK - according to some
    commentators - job insecurity, work intensification and "bossy" management
    are seen as the answer to improving performance, but are also the cause of
    much stress.

  • Article
    27 december 1997

    A November 1997 orientation debate on employment policy in Luxembourg's
    Chamber of Deputies has prompted several motions. The most important of these
    urges the Government to work towards an agreement between the social partners
    that contains both the outlines of a framework law on working time and ways
    of gradually reducing working hours, to be negotiated through collective or
    company-level agreements.

  • Article
    27 december 1997

    On 22 May 1997, an "Employment Alliance" for eastern Germany was concluded
    between the German Federal Government, the German Trade Union Federation
    (DGB), the German Salaried Employees' Union (DAG), the Confederation of
    German Employers' Associations (BDA), the Confederation of German Industries
    (BDI), the German Association of Chambers of Commerce (DIHT), the Central
    Association of German Crafts (ZDH) and the Associations of the Credit
    Institutions (Kreditgewerbe). The primary objectives of the pact were to
    speed up the transformation process of the eastern German economy, to boost
    growth, to reduce unit labour costs, to stabilise employment in 1997 at the
    level of 1996, and to create 100,000 new jobs in each of the following years.
    Among other measures to be executed by the state and the private sector, the
    "Joint initiative for more jobs in eastern Germany" provided for several
    guidelines regarding industrial relations in eastern Germany - such as
    employment-oriented collective bargaining, working time flexibility,
    "hardship clauses" and special regulations for small and medium-sized
    enterprises (DE9706117F [1]).

    [1] www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/labour-market-undefined/tripartite-agreement-on-employment-alliance-for-eastern-germany

  • Article
    27 december 1997

    The Austria Government has taken three new measures aimed at facilitating
    youth employment. In the first, a clause was added to the Federal Tendering
    Act (Bundesvergabegesetz), as part of the general tendering conditions,
    requiring that in awarding tenders for contracts, the employment of persons
    on a training contract be taken into account. Parliament approved this
    change. No explicit mention of apprenticeship contracts was made, because
    this would conflict with European Union regulations. The new clause takes
    effect from 1 January 1998.

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  • European Quality of Life Surveys

    The European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) is carried out every four to five years since its inception in 2003, with the latest edition in 2016. It examines both the objective circumstances of people's lives and how they feel about those circumstances and their lives in general. It covers issues around employment, income, education, housing, family, health and work–life balance. It also looks at subjective topics, such as people's levels of happiness and life satisfaction, and perceptions of the quality of society.

Forthcoming publications