In late 1997, the International Monetary Fund once more asked Spain for
greater flexibility in its labour market, but stated that it should be based
on social dialogue. The Prime Minister and several of his ministers have
stated their support for the introduction of such a new reform, but the trade
unions are radically opposed to any changes until the results of 1997's
"April agreements" have been analysed.
In the context of the special Employment Summit  held in Luxembourg on
20-21 November 1997, the European Centre of Enterprises with Public
Participation and of Enterprises of General Economic Interest (CEEP) issued
an "opinion on employment policies in Europe". In the document CEEP outlines
its priorities in the area of employment policy, with the aim of creating
more jobs and achieving a more even balance between the economic and social
aspects of the EU single market.
After many difficult attempts to resolve the problem of illegal immigration
and work in Greece, the process of legalising the status of aliens living and
working in Greece is set to begin soon, following a government initiative in
The year 1997 saw: an increase in GDP of 3.5% (according to Eurostat
figures); an inflation rate of 1.9%, which was lower than the previous year;
and a low government deficit of 0.8% of GDP (according to national figures).
The unemployment rate for the year was 6.7% (down from 7.3% in 1996). Low
skill levels and inadequate management strategies have been identified as
being among the key causes of high unemployment.
In June 1997, the Swedish Employers' Confederation (Svenska
Arbetsgivareföreningen, SAF) gave the trade union negotiating cartel, the
Federation of Salaried Employees in Industry and Services
(Privattjänstemannakartellen, PTK) notice of termination of the so-called
adjustment agreement (omställningsavtalet), the purpose of which is to
facilitate the adjustment for workers and employers in the event of
collective redundancies (SE9709137F ). SAF argued that the agreement was
too costly for the employers and wanted /inter alia/ to convert the Council
for Redundancy Support and Advice (Trygghetsrådet) - which is based on the
agreement - from a foundation to a private company, subject to open
On 9 December 1997 the pension reform for those employees of the Austrian
Federal Railways (Österreichische Bundesbahnen, ÖBB) with civil servant
status was concluded. This was the final part of the pensions reform the
Government had set out to achieve at the beginning of 1007 (AT9711144F ).
Because ÖBB pensions are not regulated by law or by collective agreement but
by individual employment contracts, the reform posed serious problems. It was
finally achieved by way of a delicate balance between legal reform and works
agreement. This was accompanied by serious tensions within the coalition
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.
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
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.
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.
While often considered staid, social partner organisations have developed different ways of using technology to communicate with their members, as well as to organise, mobilise and develop both internally, among staff, and externally, vis-à-vis members and the public. This topical update maps current practices in social partner organisations, describes developments in the use of technologies, and outlines the impact on social partner activities and organisation.
Following improvements in economic growth and labour market participation after the global financial and economic crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic constitutes a new, unprecedented challenge for the EU. The crisis threatens to pose an existential challenge to the EU’s cohesion and legitimacy. The subject of upward convergence is once again centre stage in the European policy debate. Expanding on work done on this topic in previous years, this flagship report traces developments in economic and social indicators between the economic crisis and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This report examines a number of collective labour disputes involving industrial action in EU Member States, Norway and the UK. It provides a comprehensive study of each labour dispute, including information on industrial action events and the context for each dispute, as well as the relevant topics, actors, attempts at resolution and outcomes. Different types of collective labour disputes and their occurrence in various countries and sectors are presented, indicating how they are linked to different industrial relations regimes.
This report investigates the practical implementation of the European Works Council (EWC) Directive at company level. It explores the challenges faced by existing EWCs and provides examples of identified solutions and remaining issues from the point of view of both workers and management. The report looks at the way that EWCs meet the requirements of the EWC Directive in terms of establishing processes of information and consultation.
What have been the major trends and policy developments regarding digitalisation in Europe? What do we know about the deployment of automation, digitisation and the platform economy? This flagship publication provides an overview of developments in Europe in recent years, as well as mapping the observable or expected effects on employment and working conditions, as well as exploring the implications from a policy perspective.
This report explores the association between skills use and skills strategies and establishment performance, and how other workplace practices, in terms of work organisation, human resources management and employee involvement, can impact on this. It looks at how skills shortages can be addressed, at least in part, by creating an environment in which employees are facilitated and motivated to make better use of the skills they already have. This further supports the business case for a more holistic approach to management.
The COVID-19 pandemic radically reshaped workplace practices and work organisation across the EU. This report explores changes that occurred as a result of or during the COVID-19 pandemic in areas such as technological transformation, decision-making and remote working. The research sets out to learn from company experiences and measures that have proved critical to keeping businesses running. It aims to inform policymakers, employers and trade unions on how to make businesses, workplaces and workers more resilient in the face of a crisis such as COVID-19.
Social dialogue lies at the heart of the EU treaties and governance. Social partners are core stakeholders who can assess policy needs and contribute to policy formation and to designing and implementing national reforms in the social and employment fields. This report focuses on the timely and meaningful involvement of national social partners in the preparation of the new resilience and recovery plans and the national reform programmes (NRPs) that were temporarily integrated under the European Semester in 2021.
This report captures the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the quality of life of older citizens, including the impact on their well-being, finances, employment and social inclusion. It explores the effects on care use and reliance on other support. The report analyses policy measures that have been implemented in EU Member States that have proven particularly important for the quality of life of older citizens, for example, measures to support independent living.