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  • Article
    27 december 1997

    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.

  • Article
    27 december 1997

    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 [1]).
    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
    Government.

    [1] www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/undefined-social-policies/pension-reform-nears-completion

  • Article
    27 december 1997

    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.

  • Article
    27 december 1997

    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
    December 1997.

  • Article
    27 december 1997

    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 [1]). 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
    competition.

    [1] www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/working-conditions-undefined/council-for-redundancy-support-and-advice-under-debate

  • 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

    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

    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

    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.

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Forthcoming publications