On 7 January 1998 the metalworkers' trade union, IG Metall, and the Steel
Employers' Association (Arbeitgeberverband Stahl) signed a new collective
agreement for the about 8,000 employees in the east German steel industry.
The collective bargaining parties agreed on a flat-rate payment of DEM 330
for the period October 1997 to December 1997 and a 2.6% wage increase from
During the spring of 1998 most of the pay agreements in Norway are to be
renegotiated. It is anticipated that the right to further education and
training will be a central issue during this year's settlement.
The Austrian Trade Union Federation (Österreichischer Gewerkschaftsbund,
ÖGB) has launched a campaign in 1998 to make good on one of its
long-standing demands: the removal of the remaining legal differences between
wage earners/blue-collar workers (Arbeiter) and salary earners/white-collar
workers (Angestellten). In the late 1970s, equality in holiday regulations
and severance pay was achieved. Now ÖGB wants regulations concerning wage
earners' payment during sickness and dismissal notice periods to be brought
up to salary earner standards. The ÖGB sees this as the final phase of a
historical social policy project. The Austrian Chamber of the Economy
(Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, WKÖ) has made it clear it opposes any
measure that would increase total wage costs, this being one of the hottest
issues between social partners at national level. By the WKÖ's reckoning,
upward equalisation would cost ATS 10 billion per year, while the ÖGB
estimates the net cost to be about ATS 1 billion per year. There are 1.3
million wage earners on annual average, about 43% of total employment.
Following a long dispute, in December 1997 employees at Electrabel, the
Belgian electricity-distribution company, approved an agreement that focuses
on the reduction of working hours and on recruitment.
The number of working days lost through strikes in France in 1996 decreased
sharply from the number recorded in 1995, according to figures published in
late 1997. Rates are now back to levels registered in the early 1990s.
A survey of 374 organisations by the recruitment company, Reed Personnel,
conducted prior to Christmas 1997, showed that the number of companies
opening on Christmas Day has grown by a third over the past decade.
Traditionally only organisations such as hospitals, the emergency services,
hotels, telephone operator services and the media worked on Christmas Day,
but this has now extended to the service sector in general and even to some
manufacturing establishments. The service sector showed the largest increase
in the proportion of establishments opening, up from 6% to 8% over the
decade, while manufacturing rose from zero to 1%.
In May 1997, the group of experts on "European systems of worker
involvement", known as the Davignon group, after its chair, issued its report
 (EU9705128N ). The group had been set up by the European Commission
essentially to suggest ways of breaking the deadlock on worker involvement
measures which had blocked the adoption of the European Company Statute for
many years. The report set out recommendations for the information,
consultation and board-level participation of employees in the European
Company (SE), which were then largely taken up by the Luxembourg EU
Presidency of the second half of 1997 in a new draft version of the Statute
Against the background of increasing mass unemployment, and following
legislation in 1996, partial retirement (Altersteilzeit) has become a very
prominent bargaining issue between the German social partners (DE9708224F
). According to a recent study by the Institute for Economics and Social
Science (Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliches Institut, WSI) there are
now 15 branch-level collective agreements and several company agreements on
partial retirement covering altogether about 5 million employees.
The UK Labour Government is committed by its election manifesto to obliging
employers to recognise a trade union where this is supported in a ballot by
employees (UK9704125F ). Details of how the Government intends to
implement this proposal are expected in a White Paper on "fairness at work"
to be issued in early 1998, and legislation is planned for the 1998-9
parliamentary session. As part of the policy-making process, government
ministers have encouraged the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the
Trades Union Congress (TUC) to engage in talks to resolve some of the
practical problems raised by recognition legislation, making it clear that an
agreed approach is likely to prove persuasive. The Government also indicated
that if the two sides failed to agree it would proceed to issue its own
proposals. Discussions between the CBI and TUC took place during the autumn
of 1997 and concluded in early December with the publication of a joint
statement identifying not only issues on which the parties could agree but
also significant areas of continuing disagreement.
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, launched in April 2020, with five rounds completed at different stages during 2020, 2021 and 2022. This is complemented by the inclusion of research into the ongoing effects of the pandemic in much of Eurofound’s other areas of work.
Eurofound's representativeness 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 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.
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.
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.