The "Luxembourg model" of industrial relations is founded on
institutionalised negotiation and social dialogue at all levels, but in the
late 1990s it is not free from attacks triggered by the globalisation of
capital and product markets. This article explains how the model works and
assesses its future prospects.
The second "European Health and Safety at Work Week" took place from 20-25
October 1997. This year the focus of the event was on assessing potential and
actual workplace risks, with a particular emphasis on risks within small and
In recent years, branch-level collective bargaining (branchenbezogene
Flächentarifverhandlungen) in Germany has been under increasing pressure
from employers demanding more company-specific regulations on working
conditions (DE9709229F ). A majority of German employers' associations,
however, still want to continue with a modified and more flexible system of
branch-level collective bargaining. This has now been underlined by the
employers' association for the food industry, Arbeitgebervereinigung Nahrung
und Genuß (ANG), which together with the food and restaurants workers'
union, Gewerkschaft Nahrung Genuß Gaststätten (NGG), published a joint
declaration on the future of branch-level collective agreements at the
beginning of November 1997.
Posts and Telecommunications Austria (PTA AG) was recast as a wholly
state-owned joint stock company in 1996 and will be privatised in 2001. In
order to prepare for the liberalised telecoms market, as well as for the
public share offer, it needs to shed some of the excess employment it built
up during the years of monopoly. Like other state agencies, the post office
was then used politically in order to absorb some of the unemployment. Now
employment is to be reduced by 9,500 staff, of whom 6,000 are immediately to
be offered incentives to participate in an early retirement scheme. The snag
is that all of them are legally civil servants, and the early retirement
scheme required a change of law in order to be permissible within the
boundaries of the employment contracts of civil servants. After a basic
agreement between management and the Post and Telecoms Trade Union
(Gewerkschaft der Postbediensteten) in August 1997, parliament passed the
necessary legislation later in the year. The legislation applies not only to
the post office but to all state agencies being made into independent
companies. However, while there are only about 3,000 federal civil servants
employed in five other new companies, PTA AG employs 42,000 (out of a total
of 57,600 employees at the end of 1996).
In November 1997, the French Government, employers' associations and trade
unions are trying to find a way to restart social dialogue following the
"freeze" announced by Jean Gandois as he resigned as president of the CNPF
employers' confederation. The Government is doubling its efforts at national
and European levels, while contrasting attitudes have come to light within
the CNPF itself.
In late 1997, a number of reports have revealed a large number of
infringements of social security and labour regulations in Greek businesses,
once again highlighting serious problems including uninsured labour, illegal
employment and breach of collective agreements.
A private company, OKG Aktiebolag, recently wanted to introduce routine
compulsory drug tests for the employees at a nuclear power station, and
initiated negotiations with the trade unions. OKG wanted to have a written
instruction which would make such tests compulsory. The trade union which
organises the blue-collar workers, the Swedish Electricians' Union
(Elektrikerförbundet), refused to accept any compulsory drug tests for its
members. The other trade unions, however, agreed to the company introducing
compulsory drug tests and they were duly introduced. The tests were planned
to take place every three years at the same time as a radiological
According to the Paperworkers' Union (Paperiliitto), the agreement reached by
the central social partners on 17 November on the creation of "buffer funds"
to protect Finland against cyclical economic changes within EU Economic and
Monetary Union (EMU) is insufficient. Under the agreement (FI9711138F ), a
total sum of up to FIM 7 billion will be collected in two buffer funds
created in the occupational pension scheme and the unemployment insurance
system. During periods of economic prosperity, employers and employees will
pay higher contributions to the schemes than necessary, allowing rises in
these contributions to be controlled during times of recession by using the
buffer fund to meet benefit and pension costs.
In October 1997, the UGT and CC.OO union confederations began an awareness
and action-oriented campaign in protest against the increase in the number of
industrial accidents in Spain. The unions demand immediate compliance by
organisations with current legislation on health and safety at work.
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.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the food and drinks sector. Their relative representativeness legitimises their right to be consulted, their role and effective participation in the European sectoral social dialogue and their capacity to negotiate agreements. The aim of this Eurofound study on representativeness is to identify the relevant national and European social partner organisations in the food and drinks sector in the EU Member States.
There have always been workers who have worked at different locations, on site with customers or while on the move. Companies have also developed open-plan workspaces to cut costs and foster cooperation. Cloud computing allows workers to access internal data from anywhere, while digitalisation increases the use of automated decision-making and control based on (big) data. This report addresses the extent to which place of work determines job quality.
This report explores the drivers of economic and social convergence in Europe, using a selected set of economic and social indicators to examine trends in the performance of individual Member States. It also investigates what role the Economic and Monetary Union plays in convergence, particularly in southern and eastern Member States. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on convergence is analysed and initial conclusions are drawn about the impact of EU recovery packages and their ability to prevent divergence.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the textiles and clothing sector. Their relative representativeness legitimises their right to be consulted, their role and effective participation in the European sectoral social dialogue and their capacity to negotiate agreements. The aim of this Eurofound study on representativeness is to identify the relevant national and European social partner organisations in the textiles and clothing sector in the EU Member States.
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.
This report analyses how working conditions, job quality and working life outcomes – such as work–life balance, health and well-being, and sustainability of work – changed between February 2020 and spring 2021. Following up on responses to the European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) 2020, it explores the differences between three distinct groups of workers: those teleworking during the COVID-19 pandemic, those who continued to work on their employers' premises as frontline staff, and those who were furloughed or worked reduced hours.
The use of artificial intelligence, advanced robotics and the Internet of Things technologies in the workplace can bring about fundamental changes in work organisation and working conditions. This report analyses the ethical and human implications of the use of these technologies at work by drawing on qualitative interviews with policy stakeholders, input from the Network of Eurofound Correspondents and Delphi expert surveys, and case studies.