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  • Article
    27 december 1997

    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.

  • Article
    27 december 1997

    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.

  • Article
    27 december 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.

  • Article
    27 december 1997

    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 [1] of the Single European
    Act (which came into force in 1987), and a Directive [2] 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:


  • Article
    27 december 1997

    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.

  • Article
    27 december 1997

    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 [1]).
    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
    average 1.95%.


  • Article
    27 december 1997

    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.

  • Article
    27 december 1997

    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.


  • COVID-19

    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.

  • Sectoral social dialogue

    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.

  • Minimum wages in the EU

    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.  

  • European Working Conditions Surveys

    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.

  • European Restructuring Monitor

    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.

  • Challenges and prospects in the EU

    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.

  • European Company Survey 2019

    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. 

  • National social partners and policymaking

    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).

  • New forms of employment

    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.

  • European Company Surveys

    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.

Forthcoming publications