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 ).
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
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.
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.
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.
During 1997, the annual GDP growth rate reached 3.4%. Economic growth was
accompanied by a fall in inflation: the annual increase in the GDP deflator
(which measures changes in prices of all goods and services included in
national GDP) fell from 14.4% in 1993 to 6.5% in 1997; while the consumer
prices index rose by 5.2% in 1997. Particularly spectacular was the reduction
of the public deficit from 13.8% of GDP in 1993 to 5% in 1997. However,
increased production, reduced inflation and improved public finances were
accompanied by a constant rise in unemployment, from 9.6% in 1994 to 10.4% in
1997, while long-term unemployment now accounts for 50% of all unemployed
persons. The improvement in public finances was also accompanied by a
significant rise in tensions in the field of industrial relations.
Following the severe economic recession of the early 1990s, the Finnish
economy has more recently been characterised by a period of economic growth
and relative stability. In 1997, economic growth rates amounted to 5.9%. This
improved economic position also led to a reduction in unemployment, from a
rate of 15.6% in 1996 to 14.5% in 1997. However, employment opportunities
were primarily generated for young and highly-skilled people, while older
workers and the low-skilled continued to suffer from long-term unemployment.
Inflation decreased to 1.3% and the public deficit was reduced to 0.9% of
The European Commission has long emphasised the importance of small and
medium-sized enterprises (SME s) in job creation. The recently published 1997
annual report  by theEuropean Observatory for SMEs  shows a complex
picture in terms of the employment impact of SMEs. According to the report,
there are over 19 million enterprises active in the non-primary private
sector in Europe (including Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland).
Of these, around 99.8% fall into the EU classification of SMEs. Based on the
analysis of trends between 1988 and 1997, the report suggests that during the
1990-3 recession, the decline in employment was greater in large or
medium-sized companies than in SMEs, thus suggesting that larger enterprises
are more vulnerable to fluctuations in the business cycle. However,
employment figures in SMEs nevertheless declined to 110 million persons. The
report shows that while employment remains more stable in SMEs during periods
of recession, in times of economic recovery, employment growth tends to be
concentrated in the larger enterprises. SMEs were found to create more jobs
than large enterprises, but they equally destroy more jobs. Significantly,
the net rate of employment growth tends to be the same for enterprises of
The 1997 /Warwick pay and working time survey/ shows, on the one hand, that
formal "benchmarking", or even measurement, of employee performance is not as
common in the UK as might be expected. Benchmarking against the international
competition is particularly infrequent, even where firms are experiencing an
internationalisation of market boundaries or in the nature of their
competition. On the other hand, the survey finds that employers do have
access to a wide range of other formal and informal networks through which
they can share and compare their experiences. The evidence shows that
managers do use these opportunities for information-sharing when making
changes to pay and working time systems. In practice, therefore, a looser
form of benchmarking might already be widespread, and this might be a useful
consideration to take into account when the Government - which regards
benchmarking as a vital tool for improving employment relations and business
performance - seeks to develop policy proposals in a White Paper in 1998.
Since the beginning of the 1990s, the German system of branch-level
collective agreements (branchenbezogene Flächentarifverträge) has been in
an continuing process of change in the direction of a differentiation between
companies of collectively agreed norms and standards, and a decentralisation
of bargaining competence to the company level. Two basic paths to
decentralisation can be distinguished:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hospital and civil aviation workers have been severely impacted by COVID-19. While hospitals are on the frontline when it comes to fighting this global pandemic, civil aviation is experiencing the most challenging crisis ever encountered in the sector. This study explores how social dialogue and collective bargaining are playing a role in the way both sectors are adapting to the pandemic. What kind of changes have been introduced, either through social dialogue or collective bargaining? Are the changes temporary or permanent?
The report provides an overview of the scale of teleworking before and during the COVID-19 crisis and gives an indication of ‘teleworkability’ across sectors and occupations. Building on previous Eurofound research on remote work, the report investigates the way businesses introduced and supported teleworking during the pandemic, as well as the experience of workers who were working from home during the crisis. The report also looks at developments in regulations related to telework in Member States and provides a review of stakeholders’ positions.
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered an extraordinary level of provision of social services across the EU. Healthcare and care providers carried much of the burden and, together with essential services, played a crucial role in getting citizens through the crisis. This report explores how public services adapted to the new reality and what role was played by the digital transformation of services. The aim is to contribute to the documentation and analysis of changes in funding, delivery and use of healthcare and social services during the pandemic.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the civil aviation 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.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the textiles and clothing 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 textiles and clothing sector in the EU Member States.