The leaders of the Norwegian Federation of Trade Unions (LO) and the
Federation of Norwegian Professional Associations (AF), Yngve Hågensen (LO)
and Magne Songvoll (AF), made headlines on 1 December 1997 when they called
for their members to boycott Norway's largest commercial bank, Den Norske
Bank (DnB). This followed DnB's decision to introduce new service charges and
to raise existing service charges from 1 November 1997. This is only the
latest of many clashes between the trade unions and the banking sector in
Norway on the issue of service charges. An opinion poll commissioned by LO
and AF revealed that a majority of the people asked expressed dissatisfaction
with existing service charges in the banking sector in general. The proposed
boycott was not directed at the DnB alone, but the bank was made the main
target due to its size and the scale of its service fees. DnB later
reconsidered its original decision, and decided to lower charges on some
Developments in European Union (EU) and national-level policy with a direct
impact on industrial relations were influenced by a number of key trends and
events in 1997, many of which are set to continue to be of relevance in the
policy debate in 1998:
The introduction of a statutory National Minimum Wage (NMW) was one of the
commitments of the Labour Government that came to power in May 1997
(UK9704125F ), and the National Minimum Wage Bill was published on 27
November and received its first reading in Parliament. Margaret Beckett, the
President of the Board of Trade, who is responsible for the bill, said that
it would set the framework within which the Government would introduce the
NMW, once it had carefully considered the recommendations of the Low Pay
Commission  (LPC). The bill, she stated, will enable the Government to
introduce a NMW which is as simple and universal as possible (UK9711177F
According to the Federal Statistical Office (Statistisches Bundesamt), German
real GDP grew at a rate of 2.2% in 1997. As regards the Maastricht
convergence criteria, the budget deficit reached 2.7% of GDP, whereas public
debt amounted to 61.3% of GDP. On average, unemployment stood at 11.4% of the
civilian labour force - 9.8% in the west and 18.1% in the east. Inflation, as
measured by the consumer price index, amounted to 1.8%.
Strikes and demonstrations in December 1997 indicated that social unrest is
rising in Belgium's care services sector, where workers feel threatened by
budgetary cuts. Workers want to defend not only the volume but also the
quality of employment in this sector.
In December 1997, the leading Japanese car manufacturer, Toyota, announced
that it had chosen the northern French town of Valenciennes as the site for
its new car assembly plant. This will create between 1,500 and 2,000 new
During the spring of 1998, Norway's two-year pay agreements will be
renegotiated. A tight labour market, increased public spending and reports of
high wage increases amongst management has led to a certain uneasiness prior
to the 1998 private sector pay settlement. The trade unions' strategy and
claims for the 1998 settlement will not be decided upon before the general
council of the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions' (LO) meets in
February 1998. At this meeting, both the type of settlement and the main
claims will be decided upon.
The 40-hour statutory working week finally came into force in Portugal on 1
December 1997. This feature discusses the implementation phase, over the
first year of the 40-hour week law. The simultaneous introduction of a
reduction in working time and new forms of flexibility have led to conflict
in a number of sectors.
Eurofound’s European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) examines both the objective circumstances of European citizens' lives and how they feel about those circumstances and their lives in general. This series consists of outputs from the EQLS 2003, the first edition of the survey.
Eurofound's European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) examines both the objective circumstances of European citizens' lives and how they feel about those circumstances and their lives in general. This series consists of outputs from the EQLS 2007, the second edition of the survey. The survey was first carried out in 2003.
Eurofound's European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) examines both the objective circumstances of European citizens' lives and how they feel about those circumstances and their lives in general. This series consists of outputs from the EQLS 2012, the third edition of the survey. The survey was first carried out in 2003.
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 EWCS 2005, the fourth edition of the survey. The survey was first carried out in 1990.
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 EWCS 2010, the fifth edition of the survey. The survey was first carried out in 1990.
This publication series explores scenarios for the future of manufacturing. The employment implications (number of jobs by sector, occupation, wage profile, and task content) under various possible scenarios are examined. The scenarios focus on various possible developments in global trade and energy policies and technological progress and run to 2030.
Platform work – the matching of supply of and demand for paid labour through an online platform or app – is gaining increasing importance in Europe. It has attracted policy attention due to its inherent opportunities and challenges. Across Europe, initiatives have been introduced by governments, social partners and grassroots organisations aimed at harnessing the potential and reducing the risks of this employment form. The areas covered include regulation, representation, advice and information provision, as well as measures addressing social protection, ratings and training.
The European Jobs Monitor tracks changes in employment structure and contributes to the debate about whether European labour markets are polarising or upgrading. The European Jobs Monitor report in 2021 looks in particular at two dimensions of change in labour supply – increased female participation and population/workforce ageing – to show how they can contribute to an understanding of recent changes in employment structure.
This study presents policy-relevant findings on differential pay rates for men and women at occupational level. Previous research has underlined that the gender pay gap is biggest – and has been slowest to narrow – in well-paid jobs requiring professional qualifications. These are also jobs in which the female worker share is increasing relatively fast. The report maps the extent of the gender pay gap across the job-wage distribution, taking into account the shifting gender composition of specific sectors, occupations and jobs.
While often considered staid, social partner organisations have developed different ways of using technology to communicate with their members, as well as to organise, mobilise and develop both internally, among staff, and externally, vis-à-vis members and the public. This topical update maps current practices in social partner organisations, describes developments in the use of technologies, and outlines the impact on social partner activities and organisation.
What have been the major trends and policy developments regarding digitalisation in Europe? What do we know about the deployment of automation, digitisation and the platform economy? This flagship publication provides an overview of developments in Europe in recent years, as well as mapping the observable or expected effects on employment and working conditions, as well as exploring the implications from a policy perspective.
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).
The COVID-19 pandemic radically reshaped workplace practices and work organisation across the EU. This report explores changes that occurred as a result of or during the COVID-19 pandemic in areas such as technological transformation, decision-making and remote working. The research sets out to learn from company experiences and measures that have proved critical to keeping businesses running. It aims to inform policymakers, employers and trade unions on how to make businesses, workplaces and workers more resilient in the face of a crisis such as COVID-19.
Following improvements in economic growth and labour market participation after the global financial and economic crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic constitutes a new, unprecedented challenge for the EU. The crisis threatens to pose an existential challenge to the EU’s cohesion and legitimacy. The subject of upward convergence is once again centre stage in the European policy debate. Expanding on work done on this topic in previous years, this flagship report traces developments in economic and social indicators between the economic crisis and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This report captures the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the quality of life of older citizens, including the impact on their well-being, finances, employment and social inclusion. It explores the effects on care use and reliance on other support. The report analyses policy measures that have been implemented in EU Member States that have proven particularly important for the quality of life of older citizens, for example, measures to support independent living.
This report examines the phenomenon of overtime in the EU, providing a comparative description of how it is regulated in EU Member States. It also assesses how contentious the issue can be and investigates the reasons behind the various disputes and debates. Finally, the report attempts to quantify and characterise the share of overtime for which workers are not paid or compensated. The analysis is based on information collected in EU Member States by the Network of Eurofound Correspondents.