By a majority of four to three, the Danish Supreme Court ruled on 17
September 1997 that a trade union which already has bargaining rights in the
public sector should also have bargaining rights in local pay negotiations on
behalf of those public sector employees who are members of employee
organisations which have not been granted the right of negotiation.
On 20 and 21 November 1997, European heads of state and government met in
Luxembourg for the much anticipated Employment Summit - the first ever
such European Council meeting dedicated to the issue of how to address the
problem of persistent unemployment in the European Union. The main decisions
reached by the summit were as follows:
The Government and the social partners have agreed to make exceptions from
Austria's ban on women's night work, with the result that from 1 January 1998
collective agreements may permit women to be employed between 22.00 and
06.00. The deal still needs to be ratified by Parliament.
Both state social security and occupational social security schemes in Sweden
are based on the assumption that adults of both sexes earn their own living.
Therefore every worker has his or her own rights, irrespective of civil
status or family situation. Formally, the regulations make no distinction
between men and women. It is nevertheless a fact that women on average have
less money at their disposal when they are ill, when they become pensioners
etc. One apparent explanation is that that their earnings, to which their
benefits are related, are lower than men's average earnings. Their lifetime
incomes also tend to be smaller than men's, as more women work part-time at
least during some periods of their life.
The effects of a lorry drivers strike in November 1997 extended beyond
France. The dispute quickly took on a European dimension, provoking reaction
from many countries and warnings from the European Commission. Over and above
the purely national causes, and in particular poor industrial relations, the
strike has raised many questions about free competition within the European
The process of mergers in the Finnish paper industry, which has continued
throughout the 1990s, has led to a situation where there are only three large
groups of paper companies left - ENSO, Metsä-Serla and UPM-Kymmene. In a
speech on 1 November 1997, Jarmo Lähteenmäki, the chair of the
Paperworkers' Union (Paperiliitto), predicted that Finland may be facing an
era of group-specific collective agreements. According to Mr Lähteenmäki,
the organisational arrangements on the employer side do not have any impact
on the status of the Paperworkers' Union. He would like the Finnish Forest
Industries' Federation (Metsäteollisuus ry) to remain as a bargaining party,
but adds that the union is ready to draft nationwide agreements with groups
of companies, if required by the situation.
Trade unions, employers and the Spanish Government began negotiations in
October 1997 on working time and employment, with a wide range of topics to
discuss. The first topic is the reduction of overtime and its replacement by
The increasing influence of multinational companies (MNCs) over economic
activity is well established. The United Nations estimates that the stock of
investments held overseas by MNCs amounts to USD 2,730 billion, roughly
double the total five years ago. One in five workers in the developed
economies are employed by MNCs while intra-enterprise trade within MNCs has
now become the single most important source of international economic
exchange. The influence of MNCs is greater in Britain than in any other
European country. Outward investment by UK MNCs constitutes nearly 12% of the
total stock of investments by MNCs, second only to US MNCs. Moreover, inward
investment into the UK amounted to just over 9% of the total, again surpassed
only by the US.
In September 1997, the media workers' trade union IG Medien conducted a
survey on working time and employment among its members. IG Medien, which
organises workers in the printing industry and paper processing as well as
journalists, writers, artists and actors, sent out a questionnaire to more
than 160,000 members asking for their positions on further working time
reduction. The questionnaire was accompanied by a letter from the president
of IG Medien, Detlef Hensche, in which he expressed the need for an open
debate on future working time policy within the union.
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.
The European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) launched in 1990 and is carried out every five years, with the latest edition in 2020. 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 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 two rounds – in April and in July 2020. 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 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.
This flagship report summarises the key findings of Eurofound’s research on working conditions conducted over the programming period 2017–2020. It maps the progress achieved since 2000 in improving working conditions and examines whether all workers have benefited equally from positive change. It highlights which groups are the most at risk of experiencing poor working conditions and being left behind. Given the changes in the world of work, emerging challenges for good job quality are identified.
This report analyses the involvement of the national social partners in the implementation of policy reforms within the framework of social dialogue practices, and their involvement in elaborating the National Reform Programmes (NRPs) and other key policy documents of the European Semester cycle.
This report builds on Eurofound's existing research on social mobility, assessing the distribution and transmission of wealth in Member States. It examines the roles of inheritance and household debt in explaining the transmission of advantage or disadvantage between the generations across Member States. The analysis is based on Eurosystem's Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS).
This report examines the contribution of social and employment services in EU Member States to the inclusion of people with disabilities, specifically in relation to the impact these have on labour market integration – in line with the 2006 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The report includes a discussion of the costs and benefits of different approaches.
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 report examines people's optimism about the future, for themselves and for others, and the extent to which it varies depending on one's social situation and perceptions of the quality of society. The study includes an analysis of the relationships between people’s perceptions of fairness and objective indicators of their social and economic situation and living standards.
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?
Building on Eurofound’s previous research on youth, this report examines the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on young people, in particular their economic and social situation, with a focus on employment. It will also estimate how the NEET population – young people not in employment, education or training – has changed in size and composition over the last decade, and how the current crisis might affect this.
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.
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.