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
Toyota, the Japan-based motor manufacturer, has a UK plant at Burnaston in
Derbyshire, which is said to have the third-highest productivity levels of
any car plant in Europe. It was widely expected that the company would
continue its investment in the UK by building a new plant aimed at production
for the small-car market in that country. However, on 10 December 1997, the
announcement was made that the GBP 400 million assembly plant, which is
likely to create over 2,000 jobs, will be built in Valenciennes, northern
Denmark has experienced five years of uninterrupted economic recovery, and in
1997 economic growth was estimated at approximately 3%. This has led to
sizeable reductions in unemployment rates which have few parallels in Europe
during this decade. Unemployment has been reduced from a record-high rate of
12.4% in 1993 to 7.4% in December 1997 - a reduction equal to 205,800
unemployed persons. The reduction has been beneficial for all groups, and
especially for women. These positive tendencies are mirrored by an
improvement in general government finances. Denmark will be one of the first
countries in Europe to be able to show a surplus on the general government
account in 1997. The current surplus of 0.7% is expected to increase to DKK
14 billion (ECU 1.9 billion) or 1.2% of GDP in 1998. Inflation stood at 1.9%
The Irish economy has performed exceptionally well in recent years, with
annual GNP growth averaging 6%-7% between 1994 and 1996 and standing at 6.6%
in 1997, according to Eurostat figures. This has resulted in increased
prosperity and living standards, and these trends are forecast to continue
over the short to medium term. Inflation averaged 2.2% over 1994-6, and is
expected to remain at around 2% in the foreseeable future (Eurostat puts the
1997 figure at 1.2%). The General Government Deficit was reduced from 2.2 %
of GDP in 1993 to around 1.5% in 1996 - Eurostat estimates a public surplus
of 0.9% of GDP in 1997 - while the debt/GDP ratio fell from 94% in 1993 to
76% at the end of 1996 - 66.3% in 1997, according to Eurostat. The strong
performance of the economy has resulted in significant employment growth.
Indeed, total employment increased by an average of over 45,000 per year
between 1993 and 1996, while the unemployment rate declined from almost 17%
in 1993 to just under 13% in 1996 and (according to Eurostat) 10.2% in 1997.
In November 1997, Luxembourg's Social Institute hosted a debate involving
trade unions and employers on the Government's plan to introduce "dependence
insurance", to cover against becoming dependent through disability, illness
An agreement was concluded on 10 October 1997 between Norway Post and the
Joint Federation of Postal Employees.The latter is the cooperation body for
the two unions that organise the majority of employees in the postal service,
the Norwegian Union of Postal Employees (DNP) and the Norwegian Union of
Postal Workers (NPF), both of which are affiliated to the Norwegian
Confederation of Trade Unions (LO). The agreement aims at creating a new
infrastructure for postal operations, which involves a reduction in the
number of sorting offices in operation. Also included in this agreement are
measures to safeguard the jobs of approximately 1,500 employees adversely
affected by this reorganisation.
The economic situation in Austria proved stable in 1997, with growth rates
reaching 2% in real terms. These are expected to rise further to 2.7% in
1998. Economic growth was largely export-driven as the increase in domestic
incomes was limited. Inflation was reduced to 1.4% and is expected to remain
at this level in 1998. The level of unemployment was steady at 4.4% and is
expected to decrease only slightly in 1998. The budget deficit amounted to
2.5% of GDP, which is half of the 1995 level, and it is expected that this
decrease will continue.
It was with confidence that the Social Democrat Government presented its
report on the Swedish economy in 1997. When it took office in 1994, Sweden
had one of the biggest public sector deficits in the European Union. In 1997,
it was reduced to 0.4% of GDP, measured by EU accounting principles, and the
consolidated debt ratio had fallen for three consecutive years. "This is a
signal to other countries that Sweden's decision to stay outside the monetary
union at the start is not because of a wish to pursue a less responsible
policy than other EU member states," the Minister of Finance, Erik Åsbrink,
The results of the December 1997 elections to France's /Prud'hommes/
industrial tribunals have confirmed the trends observed for more than a
decade. The only new development is the CFDT union confederation's victory in
the management staff electoral college.
Meeting in Brussels on 15 December 1997, the Council of Labour and Social
Affairs Ministers unanimously adopted a Directive to implement the framework
agreement on part-time work  concluded by the Union of Industrial and
Employers' Confederations of Europe (UNICE), the European Centre of
Enterprises with Public Participation and of Enterprises of General Economic
Interest (CEEP) and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) on 6 June
1997 (EU9706131F ). This agreement aims to institute the principle of
non-discrimination for part-time workers and to facilitate the development of
part-time work on a voluntary basis and to contribute to the flexible
organisation of working time in a manner which takes into account the needs
of employers and workers. It also seeks to ensure that the equal treatment of
part-time workers in terms of pay (pro rata) and working conditions is
applied, unless there are "objective reasons" for differential treatment.
Clause 5 of the agreement calls upon Member States to review any obstacles
which may limited opportunities for part-time work and, where appropriate, to
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.
Given that compliance with lockdown measures is a first line of defence against COVID-19, maintaining trust in institutions is vital to ensure a coordinated, comprehensive and effective response to the pandemic. This report investigates developments in institutional and interpersonal trust across time, with a particular emphasis on the COVID-19 pandemic period and its impact. It examines the link between trust and discontent and investigates the effect of multidimensional inequalities as a driver of distrust.
This report analyses how working conditions, job quality and working life outcomes – such as work–life balance, health and well-being, and sustainability of work – changed between February 2020 and spring 2021. Following up on responses to the European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) 2020, it explores the differences between three distinct groups of workers: those teleworking during the COVID-19 pandemic, those who continued to work on their employers' premises as frontline staff, and those who were furloughed or worked reduced hours.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the gas 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’s study on representativeness is to identify the relevant national and European social partner organisations in the gas 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 food and drinks 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 food and drinks sector in the EU Member States.
Lockdown measures and the economic shift following the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a widening of the gender divide between men and women, putting at risk some of the gender equality gains that had been made in previous years. This report analyses changes in the distribution of paid and unpaid work, along with care and domestic responsibilities, among men and women during the crisis. It also explores the impact of the pandemic on the well-being of women and men.
The COVID-19 crisis has increased inequality between social groups in health, housing, employment, income and well-being. While a small part of society was able to hold on to or increase its wealth, other groups such as women, young people, older people, people with disabilities, low- and middle-income earners and those with young children were acutely affected by the pandemic. Drawing on current research on how to best measure multidimensional inequality, this report highlights recent trends in inequality in the context of the COVID-19 crisis.
The financial services sector is pertinent for studying the impact of digitalisation, as the main ‘raw material’ of the sector is digitally stored and processed. Process automation in the sector is likely to lead to significant job losses over the next 10 years, as the high street bank presence declines and the online bank presence increasingly accounts for a higher share of overall activity. Such trends have already been identified in bank restructurings captured in Eurofound’s European Restructuring Monitor.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the electricity 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 electricity sector in the EU Member States.
This report offers a backward look at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the work and life of Europeans. The main focus is on Eurofound’s e-survey ‘ Living, working and COVID-19’ which was launched on 9 April 2020 just after the onset of the crisis. Through four rounds of the survey (two in 2020 and two in 2021), the range of questions changed to match the evolving situation and to understand the effects on the everyday lives of citizens and workers.
This report explores the drivers of economic and social convergence in Europe, using a selected set of economic and social indicators to examine trends in the performance of individual Member States. It also investigates what role the Economic and Monetary Union plays in convergence, particularly in southern and eastern Member States. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on convergence is analysed and initial conclusions are drawn about the impact of EU recovery packages and their ability to prevent divergence.