A new national collective agreement for the Italian chemicals industry was
signed in June 1998. The most innovative aspects of the deal concern working
hours: flexibility has been increased and an "hours bank" introduced. The
Confindustria employers' confederation has been critical, insisting that the
chemicals agreement should not be used as a model for other sectors.
In May 1998, the French managements of AGF, Allianz and Athéna agreed with
trade unions to set up a social dialogue group. The goal of this
extra-statutory employee representative institution is to prepare the way for
the merger of these three insurance companies, and it will not replace
existing official representative structures.
On 15 May 1998, after 18 month of intense negotiations, the eastern German
metalworking employers' association, Ostmetall, and the Christian
Metalworkers' Union (Christliche Gewerkschaft Metall, CGM) concluded a
package of collective agreements known as Phönix . Ostmetall is an
association of the three regional metalworking employers' associations of
Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. It was founded in March 1998 (DE9803157N
) and is a member of metalworking sector peak employers' association,
Gesamtmetall. Its bargaining partner, CGM is affiliated to the Christian
Federation of Trade Unions (Christlicher Gewerkschaftsbund, CGB). Of CGM's
100,000-plus members in Germany, 15,000 are organised in Saxony,
Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. In the metalworking and electrical sector, CGM
competes with IG Metall, the metalworkers' union affiliated to the German
Trade Union Federation (Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund, DGB), especially as
regards works council elections and collective agreements in crafts. IG
Metall had about 2.7 million members in 1997 (DE9802147F ).
On 24 June 1998, the workers at the Belgian Volkswagen assembly plant
spontaneously went on strike. The immediate cause of this "wildcat" strike at
Volkswagen's Forest assembly plant was a decision by the company doctor to
send home an assembly-line worker, allegedly without any serious medical
examination. The woman had become indisposed at the assembly line and
reported to the company's medical facility. Shortly after being sent home,
she had a stroke and went into a coma. Apparently, this was not the only
decision by the doctor that has caused controversy.
April 1998 saw the release of the first figures for company-level collective
bargaining in 1995-6, compiled by the Observatory on Company-level Bargaining
in Italy (Osco). The results are of particular interest, as they refer to the
period immediately following the reform of the Italian bargaining system
introduced by the tripartite agreement of July 1993. The figures indicate
that the 1993 agreement has had a positive effect in promoting company-level
Most of the national industry-level collective agreements in Norway were due
to expire in the spring of 1998. In February, the general council of the
Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (Landsorganisasjonen i Norge, LO)
decided that pay settlement negotiations within the area covered by LO and
the Confederation of Norwegian Business and Industry (Næringslivets
Hovedorganisasjon, NHO) should take the form of industry-level settlements,
in which negotiations take place between the individual LO unions and the
individual associations of NHO (NO9802150F ). Consequently, a wide range
of agreements were to be negotiated in spring 1998. Thursday 14 May witnessed
the first labour dispute when bus drivers belonging to the Norwegian
Transport Workers' Union (Norsk Transportarbeiderforbund, NTAF) and the Norsk
Rutebilarbeiderforbund which is affiliated to the Confederation of Vocational
Unions (Yrkesorganisasjonenes Sentralforbund, YS) took strike action. There
are more negotiations to come - including those in the public sector.
Following the Employment Summit  in Luxembourg in November 1997
(EU9711168F ), EU Member States agreed a set of Employment Guidelines 
aimed at providing a framework for national action under four main "pillars"
- employability, adaptability, entrepreneurship and equal opportunities. Each
Member State was to draw up a National Action Plan (NAP) for consideration at
the June 1998 European Council meeting in Cardiff. From a Swedish point of
view, the EU's efforts to agree a common labour market policy are welcome.
The guidelines in the Swedish NAP . adopted in April 1998, in many ways
already reflect a long-established Swedish tradition of an active labour
market policy that encourages activity rather than passivity.
On 13 May 1998, the European Commission adopted a Communication - entitled
From guidelines to action: the National Action Plans for employment -
examining the Member States' National Action Plans (NAP s). These Plans drawn
up in response to the Employment Guidelines  for 1998 which were adopted
in December 1997 by the Council of Ministers as part of the "Luxembourg"
European employment strategy. The objective of the Communication is to
examine whether the commitments in the NAPs are in line with the Guidelines'
four objectives, or "pillars", of employability, adaptability,
entrepreneurship and equal opportunities.
From 17 June 1998, doctors will mount a series of protests in line with a
decision taken on 13 May. These will take the form of public declarations and
protest meetings during which services in hospitals will be limited to the
level normally available on Sundays. Private practices will also be partly
closed, though officially for further training. Three main complaints are at
issue, relating to chemists' shops, dentistry and working hours in hospitals.
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 series brings together publications and other outputs of the European Jobs Monitor (EJM), which tracks structural change in European labour markets. The EJM analyses shifts in the employment structure in the EU in terms of occupation and sector and gives a qualitative assessment of these shifts using various proxies of job quality – wages, skill-levels, etc.
Eurofound's European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) examines both the objective circumstances of European citizens' lives and how they feel about those circumstances and their lives in general. This series consists of outputs from the EQLS 2016, the fourth edition of the survey. The survey was first carried out in 2003.
Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) paints a wide-ranging picture of Europe at work across countries, occupations, sectors and age groups. This series consists of findings from the EWCS 2015, the sixth edition of the survey. The survey was first carried out in 1990.
Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) paints a wide-ranging picture of Europe at work across countries, occupations, sectors and age groups. This series consists of findings from the EWCS 1996, the second edition of the survey. The survey was first carried out in 1990.
Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) paints a wide-ranging picture of Europe at work across countries, occupations, sectors and age groups. This series consists of findings from the EWCS 2001, which was an extension of the EWCS 2000 to cover the then 12 acceding and candidate countries. The survey was first carried out in 1990.
Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) paints a wide-ranging picture of Europe at work across countries, occupations, sectors and age groups. This series consists of findings from the EWCS 2000, the third edition of the survey. The survey was first carried out in 1990.
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 first edition of the survey carried out in 2004–2005 under the name European Establishment Survey on Working Time and Work-Life Balance.
The report describes trends in social and economic discontent across the EU between 2002 and 2020, highlighting in particular the turbulent times brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The report explores the evolution of social cohesion and its impact on economic and social discontent. It assesses the relationship between social cohesion and discontent during the pandemic, allowing for a comparison of the situation as it stands in 2023. The focus of the report is on regions where social cohesion is low, where a contrast is drawn with regions where social cohesion is much higher.
This report analyses the working conditions and job quality of different types of self-employed workers. Drawing on data from the European Working Conditions Survey, it looks into policies in Member States aimed at addressing the challenges and opportunities associated with specific types of self-employment.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the chemical 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’s study on representativeness is to identify the relevant national and European social partner organisations in the chemical sector in the EU Member States.
The focus of this report is on the role that human capital plays in determining inequalities across the EU, as well as within Member States. Using Cedefop’s work in this area, the report provides a comparative analysis of national trends in education and lifelong learning, including differences between educational groups in terms of income, living conditions and health.
The report maps trends in income inequality and examines the situation of the middle classes in the EU during 2020, the year most associated with the COVID-19 lockdowns. It charts developments in the size and composition of middle-class households across countries, identifies those that suffered disproportionately in 2020. Taking a longer lens, the report describes the evolution of income inequalities over the last 15 years, comparing the Great Recession (2007–2009) with the COVID-19 pandemic, and outlines the trends both between and within Member States.
This report explores the implications of the right of all EU citizens to live independently. It investigates the barriers faced by people who wish to live independently, and the situation of people at risk of living in institutional settings. It maps the various measures taken by EU Member States to foster independent living and autonomy. The report also includes policy pointers to support future decision-makers and provides a review of lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.