As part of an experiment with a new salary system for civil servants, due to
begin on 1 January 1998, senior civil servants were to negotiate part of
their salaries on a personal basis without the participation of their trade
union. This, according to Danish Confederation of Professional Associations
(Akademikernes Centralorganisation, AC), was in conflict with the Crown
Servants Act, which provides for a right to collective bargaining. The Crown
Servants Court upheld AC's contention in a ruling issued on 5 December 1997,
which in practice will exclude 2,800 of the 3,200 civil servants concerned
from taking part in the experiments from 1 January 1998.
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 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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
This report analyses how working conditions, job quality and working life outcomes – such as work–life balance, health and well-being, and sustainability of work – changed between February 2020 and spring 2021. Following up on responses to the European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) 2020, it explores the differences between three distinct groups of workers: those teleworking during the COVID-19 pandemic, those who continued to work on their employers' premises as frontline staff, and those who were furloughed or worked reduced hours.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the food and drinks sector. Their relative representativeness legitimises their right to be consulted, their role and effective participation in the European sectoral social dialogue and their capacity to negotiate agreements. The aim of this Eurofound study on representativeness is to identify the relevant national and European social partner organisations in the food and drinks sector in the EU Member States.
The COVID-19 crisis has increased inequality between social groups in health, housing, employment, income and well-being. While a small part of society was able to hold on to or increase its wealth, other groups such as women, young people, older people, people with disabilities, low- and middle-income earners and those with young children were acutely affected by the pandemic. Drawing on current research on how to best measure multidimensional inequality, this report highlights recent trends in inequality in the context of the COVID-19 crisis.
Lockdown measures and the economic shift following the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a widening of the gender divide between men and women, putting at risk some of the gender equality gains that had been made in previous years. This report analyses changes in the distribution of paid and unpaid work, along with care and domestic responsibilities, among men and women during the crisis. It also explores the impact of the pandemic on the well-being of women and men.
The financial services sector is pertinent for studying the impact of digitalisation, as the main ‘raw material’ of the sector is digitally stored and processed. Process automation in the sector is likely to lead to significant job losses over the next 10 years, as the high street bank presence declines and the online bank presence increasingly accounts for a higher share of overall activity. Such trends have already been identified in bank restructurings captured in Eurofound’s European Restructuring Monitor.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the electricity sector. Their relative representativeness legitimises their right to be consulted, their role and effective participation in the European sectoral social dialogue and their capacity to negotiate agreements. The aim of this Eurofound study on representativeness is to identify the relevant national and European social partner organisations in the electricity sector in the EU Member States.
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.
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.