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.
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 ). 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 
(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.
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.
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 ). 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.
Future Community actions on education and training are to be limited to
measures under three key priorities, according to a Communication issued by
the European Commission on 21 November 1997. The priorities are:
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
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
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 ).
At present, Sweden has no legislation expressly forbidding discrimination in
working life on grounds of sexual orientation. At the beginning of 1997 the
Government appointed a committee with the task of investigating if there was
a need for such legislation.
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.
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.
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.
As part of an annual series on minimum wages, this report summarises the key developments during 2020 and early 2021 with an emphasis on social partners’ roles and views. It looks at how minimum wages were set in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and how minimum wages act as a reference for income support measures. Information from interviews with decision-makers on the process of setting the minimum wage in 2020, along with their assessment of impacts of the proposed EU Directive on adequate minimum wages is also included.
While the EU is considered to be a global leader in gender equality, it is not yet a reality for millions of Europeans given the different dynamics in the Member States. The EU Gender Equality Strategy 2020–2025 acknowledges the slow speed of progress and outlines key actions to promote gender equality. Have all countries improved their performance? Which countries have been able to dramatically reduce gender inequality? Which countries lag behind?
The European Green Deal features high on Member State agendas. However, there are concerns that the necessary changes to climate policy may have undesirable socioeconomic consequences, such as regressive distributional effects and increased inequality. This report attempts to identify those policies where there is a significant risk involved and aims to provide guidance on how negative distributional risk can be mitigated.
Based on data from the European Company Survey 2019, this policy brief examines the characteristics of innovative companies and explores the types of workplace practices that are significantly associated with establishments' likelihood of introducing innovation. It also investigates differences between workplace practices of innovative and non-innovative companies. Additionally, data gathered through case studies analyse the role of workplace practices in different phases of the innovation process.
This report investigates the convergence of Member States in various dimensions of living conditions. Indicators are drawn from the European Quality of Life Surveys and other surveys. The analysis pays special attention to particular subgroups such as young people and women. The analysis also investigates the key drivers of convergence in living conditions.
Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, a high demand for labour and low unemployment levels made labour shortages one of the key policy concerns in the EU. Even where there is persistent and rising unemployment, individual countries, sectors and occupations are experiencing labour shortages, which in some instances have been accentuated by COVID-19. This report explores various approaches to measuring labour shortages and maps national policy debates around the issue.
As the EU embarks on the transition to a climate-neutral economy, it is crucial to understand the impact of such a transition on production models, employment, work organisation, working conditions, social dialogue and citizens’ lives and living conditions.
The issue of regional convergence and whether disadvantaged regions are catching up with wealthier regions continues to attract enormous attention in the policy debate. This report presents the findings of an investigation into the evolution of social imbalances across EU regions over time, based on indicators including unemployment, social exclusion and poverty. It also examines various aspects of the relationship between growth, regional disparities and interpersonal inequalities.
Digital technologies have made it possible for many workers to carry out their work anytime and anywhere, with consequent advantages and disadvantages. Disadvantages, for remote workers and teleworkers in particular, include the risk to health and well-being linked to long working hours. To address this issue, there have been calls for the ‘right to disconnect’. This report includes case studies that chart the implementation and impact of the right to disconnect at workplace level.
This study presents policy-relevant findings on differential pay rates for men and women at occupational level. Previous research has underlined that the gender pay gap is biggest – and has been slowest to narrow – in well-paid jobs requiring professional qualifications. These are also jobs in which the female worker share is increasing relatively fast. The report maps the extent of the gender pay gap across the job-wage distribution, taking into account the shifting gender composition of specific sectors, occupations and jobs.