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.
In Denmark's 1997 Budget, a 40% penalty tax on overtime payments was
introduced in the civil service in order to reduce the level of overtime
work. It was expected that this measure would lead to more jobs being
created. According to figures from the Ministry of Finance, overtime payments
have declined by 40% over the first three quarters of 1997. However, the
question remains as to whether overtime work has merely taken another form
and been transformed into unused time off in lieu, unpaid overtime work and
permanent pay supplements.
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 a globalised market, new forms of work organisation and workplace
partnership are increasingly becoming a prerequisite for competitiveness and
employment in high-wage economies. In Europe, there has been a significant
increase since the beginning of the 1990s in a variety of new forms of work
organisation with strong direct participation of employees. In four out of
five workplaces in Europe management either encourages employees to make
their views known on work-related matters - via "continuous improvement"
programmes, for example - or gives employees increased responsibility to
organise their jobs - via semi-autonomous work-groups, for instance. However,
Europe still lags significantly behind its main competitors in the USA and
Japan in terms of the scope and integration of different organisational
In 1997, France's Minister of Education, Claude Allègre, has been seeking to
decentralise the national system of transferring teachers in the secondary
education sector, but this has provoked opposition from trade unions.
The statutory rules on temporary employment contracts have been controversial
ever since they were first instituted with the Act on Security of Employment
1974. The principal rule of the Act was that employment contracts were valid
for an indefinite period. Temporary contracts were permitted only in cases
specified in the Act, namely:
An agreement was signed on 28 October 1997 by trade unions and the Italian
toy-manufacturing multinational, Artsana, which provides for the respect of
ILO conventions in the group's production plants abroad.
In Austria, there is a legal entitlement to early retirement when a person:
has drawn unemployment benefits for at least 12 of the last 15 months; is
aged over 55 years (women) or over 60 (men); and has accumulated at least 180
months (15 years) of contributions to the pension insurance scheme. At least
120 of the 180 months of contributions have to derive from actual employment,
while the remainder may derive from periods of child-rearing of up to 48
months per child. The pension entitlement lapses if new employment is entered
On Friday 17 October 1997, it became public knowledge that four of the trade
unions affiliated to the Federation of Norwegian Professional Associations
(Akademikernes Fellesorganiasjon, AF) were in the process of establishing a
new confederation for academically qualified workers, together with the
Norwegian Medical Association (Den norske lægeforening), previously
affiliated to AF (NO9710131N ). The four organisations concerned are
Norwegian Society of Chartered Engineers (Norske Sivilingeniørers Forening),
The Norwegian Federation of Business Economists (Norske Siviløkonomers
Forening), The Norwegian Dental Association (Den norske Tannlægeforening)
and the Association of Norwegian Lawyers (Norges Juristforbund). Since this
date, three additional AF-affiliated unions have expressed a wish to transfer
to the new confederation. These are the unions organising architects,
veterinarians and psychologists.
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.
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.