Future Community actions on education and training are to be limited to
measures under three key priorities, according to a Communication issued by
the European Commission on 21 November 1997. The priorities are:
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.