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:
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.
The retailing and wholesaling pay negotiations for 1998, begun on 8 October
1997, were concluded on 31 October 1997. The Trade Union of Salaried
Employees (Gewerkschaft der Privatangestellten, GPA) had initially demanded a
3.5% hike in minimum rates while the Austrian Chamber of the Economy
(Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, WKÖ) offered fixed amounts varying by grade
and resulting, on average, in a pay rise below inflation (AT9710140N ).
The social partners finally settled for an average 1.7% increase in minimum
salaries from 1 January 1998 and a maintenance of the absolute difference
between minimum and actual salaries. Apprenticeship remuneration will be
raised by 1.6%. Given that inflation is expected to run at 1.4% ,a very
moderate rise in real incomes was thus achieved. Some 320,000 employees
(60%-70% are women) - about 10% of the country's workforce - are directly
affected by the new agreement and another 130,000 indirectly because their
wage or salary settlements usually reflect the one concluded in commerce. One
year previously, GPA asked for a 4.5% pay rise and eventually agreed to an
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.
The Government has recently presented a bill aimed at completing the
introduction into Portuguese law of the amendments introduced by Directive
92/56/EC into the system of regulation of collective redundancies established
by Directive 75/129/EEC.
In December 1997, the Italian State Railways signed an agreement with
transport workers' trade unions on the management of redundancies. The
agreement provides for the creation of a fund to deal with redundant staff by
means of "mobility" procedures, the Wages Guarantee Fund, job-security
agreements and early retirement. An important aspect of the agreement was the
mediation by the Government.
On 27 November 1997, the Finnish Firefighters' Union (Suomen Palomiesliitto,
SPAL) called a strike which continues at the time of writing (11 December).
The action arises from disagreements about firefighters' pay system, working
hours and retirement age. An attempt at conciliation ended without results
and the national conciliator, Juhani Salonius, came to the conclusion that
the parties stood so far apart that not even a proposal for a settlement
could be made.
At the end of 1997, the First Chamber of the Dutch Parliament rejected a
proposal to give employees the legal right to work part time. Employers
opposed the bill, while the trade unions were divided on the subject.
HK/Industri- the industrial section of the Union of Commercial and Clerical
Employees in Denmark (Handels- og Kontorfunktionærernes Forbund, HK) - has
published a comprehensive proposal on a "European collective industrial
relations system". The aim is to initiate a debate on how European-wide
industrial relations issues can be resolved. The union proposes the
conclusion of transnational agreements, with an industrial tribunal to
adjudicate on matters of dispute. These proposals were presented at a
conference in Denmark on 28-29 November and at a press conference in Brussels
on 8 December.
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.
The European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) is carried out every four to five years since its inception in 2003, with the latest edition in 2016. It examines both the objective circumstances of people's lives and how they feel about those circumstances and their lives in general. It covers issues around employment, income, education, housing, family, health and work–life balance. It also looks at subjective topics, such as people's levels of happiness and life satisfaction, and perceptions of the quality of society.
While the EU is considered to be a global leader in gender equality, it is not yet a reality for millions of Europeans given the different dynamics in the Member States. The EU Gender Equality Strategy 2020–2025 acknowledges the slow speed of progress and outlines key actions to promote gender equality. Have all countries improved their performance? Which countries have been able to dramatically reduce gender inequality? Which countries lag behind?
As part of an annual series on minimum wages, this report summarises the key developments during 2020 and early 2021 with an emphasis on social partners’ roles and views. It looks at how minimum wages were set in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and how minimum wages act as a reference for income support measures. Information from interviews with decision-makers on the process of setting the minimum wage in 2020, along with their assessment of impacts of the proposed EU Directive on adequate minimum wages is also included.
This joint publication with the European Environment Agency (EEA) presents the findings from complementary research carried out simultaneously by both agencies on the socioeconomic impacts of climate policies and measures. While Eurofound focuses particularly on the distributional effects of these policies based on the experiences of Member States, the EEA analyses scientific research about the monetary and non-monetary social impacts of climate mitigation policies and its outcome in terms of inequalities.
The European Green Deal features high on Member State agendas. However, there are concerns that the necessary changes to climate policy may have undesirable socioeconomic consequences, such as regressive distributional effects and increased inequality. This report attempts to identify those policies where there is a significant risk involved and aims to provide guidance on how negative distributional risk can be mitigated.
Based on data from the European Company Survey 2019, this policy brief examines the characteristics of innovative companies and explores the types of workplace practices that are significantly associated with establishments' likelihood of introducing innovation. It also investigates differences between workplace practices of innovative and non-innovative companies. Additionally, data gathered through case studies analyse the role of workplace practices in different phases of the innovation process.
This report investigates the convergence of Member States in various dimensions of living conditions. Indicators are drawn from the European Quality of Life Surveys and other surveys. The analysis pays special attention to particular subgroups such as young people and women. The analysis also investigates the key drivers of convergence in living conditions.
Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, a high demand for labour and low unemployment levels made labour shortages one of the key policy concerns in the EU. Even where there is persistent and rising unemployment, individual countries, sectors and occupations are experiencing labour shortages, which in some instances have been accentuated by COVID-19. This report explores various approaches to measuring labour shortages and maps national policy debates around the issue.
As the EU embarks on the transition to a climate-neutral economy, it is crucial to understand the impact of such a transition on production models, employment, work organisation, working conditions, social dialogue and citizens’ lives and living conditions.
The issue of regional convergence and whether disadvantaged regions are catching up with wealthier regions continues to attract enormous attention in the policy debate. This report presents the findings of an investigation into the evolution of social imbalances across EU regions over time, based on indicators including unemployment, social exclusion and poverty. It also examines various aspects of the relationship between growth, regional disparities and interpersonal inequalities.
Digital technologies have made it possible for many workers to carry out their work anytime and anywhere, with consequent advantages and disadvantages. Disadvantages, for remote workers and teleworkers in particular, include the risk to health and well-being linked to long working hours. To address this issue, there have been calls for the ‘right to disconnect’. This report includes case studies that chart the implementation and impact of the right to disconnect at workplace level.