According to the latest figures, over the first three quarters of 1997, GDP
grew by 2.2%, while the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies
(Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques, INSEE), puts
overall economic growth for the year at 2.5%. The public sector deficit stood
at 3% of GDP. Inflation was brought under control - 1.1% in 1997, down from
1.7% in 1996. The employment situation was varied. At the end of December
1997, unemployment stood at 3,027,800, representing a slight 1.7% improvement
on figures for the same period in 1996. These overall figures conceal quite
different rates of unemployment among men and women and various age groups:
unemployment among the young has decreased by 9% over the year; the
percentage of women in employment continues to increase but at a slower pace;
whereas the percentage of men in employment is continuing to fall, reflecting
the decline in sectors dominated by male employment. However, the majority of
women are employed on "non-traditional" contracts such as fixed-term or
part-time ones - almost 40% of women are recruited on fixed-term contracts.
There has also been a 1.2% increase in the number of long-term unemployed
people. At the end of December 1997, they accounted for 36.8% of overall
Worker representatives at Transmediterranea - the principal Spanish shipping
line - called an indefinite strike as from 5 December 1997 to protest against
redundancies and the announcement that six cargo ships will be sold.
In December 1996, a committee consisting of experts from Greek trade unions
and employers' organisations was set up to discuss the effects of reducing
working time to 35 hours a week. However, on completion of its task in
October 1997, it had become clear that the differences between the two sides
were irreconcilable. We examine the main points of disagreement between the
Greek General Confederation of Labour (GSEE) and the employers.
Disagreements over the interpretation of key terms relating to the regulation
of working time have delayed the tripartite consultation process for the
transposition of the 1993 EC Directive on certain aspects of the organisation
of working time into Portuguese law. The Directive has still not been
transposed at the end of 1997.
Recent research in the Netherlands shows that setting a legal standard for
the manual lifting of loads would lead to considerable improvements in
working conditions for a large group of employees. However, employers'
organisations and unions are divided on this subject.
In 1997, Italy's GDP increased by 1.7%: although low, this rate of growth was
higher than in 1996. The rate of inflation continued to decrease, falling to
to 1.7% in 1997 (according to the National Institute of Statistics, Istat).
The unemployment rate stood at an average of 12.3% (Istat), which represented
a growth of 0.2 percentage points compared with 1996. However, the
unemployment rate is very different depending on the area: it is particularly
high in the South, where it reaches 22.2%, while it is lower in the Centre
(10.2%) and in the North (7.3% in the North-West and 5.7% in the North-East).
In 1997, the Government's deficit-reduction policies, which received a
particular impetus after 1993, continued, and the public deficit stood at
2.7% of GDP in 1997.
Collective bargaining may be defined as a collective decision-making process
between parties representing the interests of the employer(s) and the
employee(s), whose purpose is the negotiation and continuous application of a
jointly agreed set of rules to govern the substantive and procedural terms of
the employment relationship.
Both the trade unions and the employers' organisations have reacted to the
Spanish Government's position at the special EU Employment Summit held in
Luxembourg in November 1997. The former have expressed their profound
dissatisfaction, while the latter support the attitude of the Government, but
would like to see more measures that would allow companies to generate
employment. The reaction of the opposition parties and public opinion in
general was also very critical.
Measures to improve the working environment and the health and safety of the
workforce have been the cornerstone of the European social dimension since
the inception of the European Communities. Articles 117 and 118 of the Treaty
of Rome called for the Community to be instrumental in achieving the
improvement of living and working conditions in the Member States. These
provisions were strengthened under Article 118A  of the Single European
Act (which came into force in 1987), and a Directive  on the introduction
of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at
the workplace (89/391/EEC) was subsequently adopted by the Labour and Social
Affairs Council in June 1989. This framework Directive, intended as a
spearhead for other individual Directives, lays down fundamental requirements
for health and safety at work, including the obligations of employers and
workers, the establishment and maintenance of prevention, protection and
emergency services at the workplace, comprehensive information and training
and consultation of workers in all matters relating to health and safety. The
adoption of the framework Directive led to a spate of Community legislation
on health and safety related issues between 1989 and 1992. The individual
Directives fall into three main categories. They aim to:
A decision made in October 1997 by the Mediation and Arbitration Service
(OMED) regulates wages and working conditions more favourably throughout
Greece for workers in enterprises providing security services, an
increasingly important branch of the services sector.
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.