In the past decade, Ireland has developed a system of social participation
which plays a major role in the conduct of economic and social policy. This
approach began in 1987, with a three-year agreement  between the
Government, the trade union movement, employers and agricultural interests.
This lifted the country from the deep economic and social crisis of the 1980s
and facilitated a return to growth. That agreement was followed by three
further social partnership programmes, the latest of which is /Partnership
2000/ (IE9702103F ). These agreements determine the growth of pay in both
the public and private sector, but also embody a negotiated approach to a
wide range of economic and social policies. The consensus which underpinned
these agreements was, to a large extent, developed in the National Economic
and Social Council (NESC), a deliberative body in which the social partners
and senior civil servants undertake analysis and discussion of strategic
issues. Following agreement on the strategic priorities, negotiation of the
programmes was undertaken in a separate body, the Central Review Committee,
which also monitors the implementation of the programmes.
The Spanish trade unions and employers' organisations which signed the
important labour market reform agreements in April 1997 (the "April
agreements") have carried out a review of their results over the first six
months, which was published in January 1998. The social partners agree in
general that the results are positive, but have reservations on some points.
In 1992, the Municipal Workers' Union (Kommunalarbetareförbundet) and the
Swedish Association of Local Authorities (Kommunförbundet) agreed to change
the collective agreement on pensions then in force, with the effect that the
pensioners did not receive the benefits they had counted on (SE9709136F ).
A former sheet-metal worker, Knut Törling, sued his former employer, the
City of Stockholm, claiming in all SEK 7,794, plus interest on overdue
payment. Mr Törling argued that pension rights are the workers' acquired
rights which a trade union cannot dispose of without a special authorisation
from each member concerned, and he had never given such an authorisation to
the Municipal Workers' Union. Therefore the City of Stockholm could not
invoke the new collective agreement against him.
A collective agreement on working time was concluded in the construction
industry on 9 August 1996. Although it became effective retroactively from 1
July 1996, its first impact was felt only in 1997. The main aim was to reduce
the industry's reliance on the national unemployment insurance system though
workers being laid off during the winter, and to distribute the cost of doing
so between enterprises and employees. It is now possible to make a first
assessment of the deal's effects.
A report on the service offered by the Greek public administration, released
in January 1998, contains proposals aimed at achieving greater efficiency,
greater responsibility amongst public servants, better management of the
workforce and a better response to citizens' needs.
Recent statistics from Danmarks Statistik, the official statistical office,
show that unskilled male workers' share of total employment in Denmark has
remained unchanged at 18% over the period from 1980 to 1996. Overall, the
share of all unskilled workers dropped from 23% in 1980 to 20% in 1996. The
largest change has occurred for unskilled female workers, whose share dropped
from 26% in 1980 to 21% in 1996. Out of a workforce of 2.8 million,
approximately one million workers are categorised as "unskilled" or
"lower-skilled" in Denmark.
A "High-Level Group" has advocated the continuation of the non-legalistic,
"voluntarist" approach to industrial relations in Ireland, in a set of
proposals aimed at tackling disputes over trade union recognition  rights
for workers. The High-Level group, drawn from representatives of Government,
state agencies, employer and trade union interests, was established in
accordance with the current /Partnership 2000/ agreement between the social
partners, which runs from January 1997 to March 2000 (IE9702103F ).
The adjustment of Spain's national minimum wage in line with the projected
rate of inflation for 1998 is considered insufficient by the trade unions. A
dispute has arisen owing to the loss of the minimum wage's purchasing power,
repeated failures to increase it and its wide differential with the average
national wage, at a time when the Spanish economy is progressing favourably.
A report published by the Statistical Office of the European Communities
(Eurostat) on 9 December 1997 shows that, despite the adoption of equal pay
legislation at European level more than 20 years ago, a large pay gap remains
between men and women. The report (, Eurostat statistics in focus, Population
and social conditions, 15/97 ), summarises the findings of a survey on pay
in four Member States and gives the hourly earnings of women as a percentage
of those of men as 84% in Sweden, 73% in France and Spain and just over 64%
in the UK. The study includes data on both full- and part-time workers, but
excludes overtime payments (which means that in certain occupations, pay gaps
are likely to be underestimated as women are less likely than men to work
The European Restructuring Monitor (ERM) has reported on the employment impact of large-scale business restructuring since 2002. This publication series include the ERM reports, as well as blogs, articles and working papers on restructuring-related events in the EU27 and Norway.
Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) paints a wide-ranging picture of Europe at work across countries, occupations, sectors and age groups. This series consists of findings from the European Working Conditions Telephone Survey (EWCTS) 2021, an extraordinary edition conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey was first carried out in 1990.
This publication series gathers all overview reports on developments in working life, annual reviews in industrial relations and working conditions produced by Eurofound on the basis of national contributions from the Network of Eurofound Correspondents (NEC). Since 1997, these reports have provided overviews of the latest developments in industrial relations and working conditions across the EU and Norway. The series may include recent ad hoc articles written by members of the NEC.
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.
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).
The use of artificial intelligence, advanced robotics and the Internet of Things technologies in the workplace can bring about fundamental changes in work organisation and working conditions. This report analyses the ethical and human implications of the use of these technologies at work by drawing on qualitative interviews with policy stakeholders, input from the Network of Eurofound Correspondents and Delphi expert surveys, and case studies.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the professional football 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 professional football sector in the EU Member States.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in European sectoral social dialogue taking place at cross-sectoral level. 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 at cross-sectoral level in the EU Member States.