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:
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.
In 1993, the Restaurants and Brewery Workers Union in Denmark (Restaurations-
og Bryggeriarbejder Forbund i Danmark, RBF) signed a collective agreement
with a nationwide restaurant chain. RBF was able to come to terms with the
restaurant chain, which was not a member of an employers' organisation, only
by agreeing to less favourable terms and conditions (in terms of flexible
working hours and overtime premia) than those specified in its main agreement
with the sectoral employers' association, the Association of the Hotel,
Restaurant, and Leisure Industry in Denmark (Hotel, Restaurations- og
Turisterhvervets Arbejdsgiverforening, HORESTA).
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
Traditionally there has not been a great deal of rivalry over members between
the different employers' organisations in Norway, and in most cases the
boundaries between the largest organisations have been clear. Recently,
however, there have been indications that in the future we will see increased
rivalry over members. The two largest employers' organisations, the
Confederation of Norwegian Business and Industry (NHO) and the Commercial
Employers' Association (HSH), both have ambitions of continued membership
At the beginning of December 1997, the Austrian Government announced plans
for a "clean workplace campaign" (Aktion sauberer Arbeitsplatz) aimed at
combating illegal employment. The main objective is to get a better grip on
taxable income but a secondary aim is clearly to please the social partners
after 1997's acrimonious pensions debate (AT9709134N ). At the Ministry of
Labour, Health and Social Affairs (Bundesministerium für Arbeit, Gesundheit
und Soziales, BMAGS), six working groups were set up with a remit to devise
tighter controls and more adequate penalties. In all working groups, the
social partners are included along with representatives of various
At the beginning of 1997 the Minister for Equal Opportunities Affairs, Labour
Law and Working Hours appointed the director general of the National
Institute of Economic Research, Svante Öberg, as a special investigator with
the task of proposing measures to promote a satisfactory system of pay
determination (SE9704111F ). On 27 November 1997, he presented his first
results (Medlingsinstitut och lönestatistikSOU 1997:164).
A law governing the financing of France's social security system was adopted
on 2 December 1997. This legislation continues along the same lines as the
plan put forward by the previous Government and aims to reduce the social
security deficit radically.
After more than eight months of negotiations, new collective agreements were
concluded in November and December 1997 for the 1.8 million or so employees
in the west German retail trade, ending the 1997 collective bargaining round.
New agreements were concluded in most regional bargaining areas between the
trade union responsible, Gewerkschaft Handel Banken Versicherungen (HBV), and
the regional employers' associations - which are members of the national peak
employers' association for the retail trade, Hauptverband des Deutschen
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 impact of COVID-19 has moved public health up the EU social policy agenda. As the EU directs its efforts towards establishing a European Health Union to guard against future health crises, this policy brief examines the extent to which the EU achieved upward convergence in terms of health and healthcare outcomes, as well as health expenditures and delivery, prior to the pandemic. It also examines convergence patterns in infections and deaths from COVID-19 and in the mitigating measures adopted by the EU and national governments.
This report addresses the main developments in statutory and collectively agreed working time regulation in 2019 and 2020. It covers several aspects of the duration of working time in the EU, such as information on maximum numbers of working days and weeks, normal working weeks and paid annual leave across the countries and within selected sectors. The report focuses on the education, health, transport, retail and public administration sectors, and provides accounts of major developments in working time regulation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This policy brief uses the data from the European Company Survey 2019 to examine the workplace practices of export-oriented companies and to analyse how these practices relate to outcomes. It also examines why these companies choose the workplace practices they adopt.
This report examines the labour market changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected sectors and occupations quite differently. It identifies those labour market categories most exposed to negative labour market outcomes. It analyses how differences in confinement and public health approaches may have contributed to different outcomes. It addresses previous assessments of the extent of occupational ‘teleworkability’ and of the sectoral impact of confinement rules. The report draws on EU Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS) data for its analysis.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the audiovisual 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 audiovisual sector in the EU Member States.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the live performance 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 live performance sector in the EU Member States.
This joint publication with the European Environment Agency (EEA) presents the findings from complementary research carried out simultaneously by both agencies on the socioeconomic impacts of climate policies and measures. While Eurofound focuses particularly on the distributional effects of these policies based on the experiences of Member States, the EEA analyses scientific research about the monetary and non-monetary social impacts of climate mitigation policies and its outcome in terms of inequalities.
This report analyses and compares the industrial relations landscape in a number of sectors and activities that form a public service cluster. The report draws on Eurofound’s recent representativeness studies investigating the following sectors: education, human health, central government administration and local and regional government sector (including social services).
Building on Eurofound’s previous research on youth, this report examines the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on young people, in particular their economic and social situation, with a focus on employment. It will also estimate how the NEET population – young people not in employment, education or training – has changed in size and composition over the last decade, and how the current crisis might affect this.
This report explores the impact of the use of digital technologies on work organisation and job quality, as well as the role of social dialogue and employee involvement in the digitisation process. The three technologies analysed are the Internet of Things, 3D printing, and virtual and augmented reality. The report draws on the views of experts and policy stakeholders and includes insights from 10 case studies of European establishments that have deployed one or more of the three digital technologies.