27 Mai 1998
The proposed European Company Statute would enable European multinational undertakings to operate under rules governed by EU company law, rather than the diverse regulations of different Member States. Such "European Companies" would also benefit from a special tax status. The idea has been on the table for over a quarter of a century without winning adoption in the Council of Ministers, with the problems centring around the issue of worker involvement in the European Company. In 1996, a high-level expert group was set up by the Commission to help break the deadlock, particularly in respect of those countries which feared that the Statute would undermine strong national involvement rights, and those countries which currently have no legal mechanisms for ensuring employee involvement.
27 April 1998
The latest available figures on accidents at work across the European Union, published by the Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat) on 16 March 1998, show that 4,084 people died in work-related accidents in 1994 (one worker in every 26,000) ("Accidents at work in the European Union in 1994", Statistics in focus, Population and social conditions, no 2/98 ) There is a strong sectoral imbalance in the incidence of fatal accidents at work, which was twice the average in construction, agriculture and transport and well below average in retailing, wholesaling, finance, hotels and catering. Gender imbalances were also clearly visible, with men 10 times more likely to be involved in fatal accidents than their female counterparts. This can be attributed to the segregation of men and women in certain sectors and occupations.  http://europa.eu.int/en/comm/eurostat/compres/en/2298/6302298a.htm
27 April 1998
Meeting in Luxembourg on 7 April 1998, EU Labour and Social Affairs Ministers adopted a new Directive extending Directive 97/81/EC on part-time work to the UK. The 1997 Directive (EU9712175N ) implemented the framework agreement on part-time work  concluded by the Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe (UNICE), the European Centre of Enterprises with Public Participation and of Enterprises of General Economic Interest (CEEP) and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) (EU9706131F ). A proposal to extend the application of this Directive to the UK - in the light of the UK Labour Government's agreement to abandon the previous administration's "opt-out" from the Maastricht Agreement on Social Policy (UK9704125F ) - had been tabled by the Commission in February 1998. The UK's social policy opt-out is to be formally ended by the Treaty of Amsterdam (EU9707135F ), which is currently going through the process of ratification in each Member State.  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/social-affairs-council-adopts-directive-to-implement-part-time-work-agreement  http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/soc-dial/social/parttime_en.htm  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/undefined/social-partners-reach-framework-agreement-on-part-time-work  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/undefined-labour-market/the-industrial-relations-consequences-of-the-new-labour-government  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/undefined/amsterdam-treaty-brings-small-advances-for-employment-and-social-policy
27 April 1998
On 31 March 1998, the European Commission launched the second phase of consultations with the EU-level social partners on the content of future legislation to amend the EU Directive on certain aspects of the organisation of working time (93/104/EEC). The aim is to include sectors and activities so far excluded from the Directive (air, rail, road, sea and inland waterway transport, sea fishing, offshore workers and doctors). The European intersectoral social partner organisations - the Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe (UNICE), the European Centre of Enterprises with Public Participation and of Enterprises of General Economic Interest (CEEP) and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) - are invited to negotiate framework agreements in this area which may lead to the formulation of a Community Directive.
27 April 1998
Following the decision in December 1997 by the Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe (UNICE), the European Centre of Enterprises with Public Participation and of Enterprises of General Economic Interest (CEEP) and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) to open negotiations on the rights of workers on fixed-term contracts (EU9802183F ), the first meeting of the negotiating group took place on 23 March 1998.  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/undefined-industrial-relations/unice-opens-door-to-negotiations-on-rights-of-fixed-term-contract-workers
27 März 1998
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg has ruled that the principle of equal pay and treatment between the sexes does not apply to homosexual couples. Although the new Amsterdam Treaty  (EU9707135F ), which is currently being ratified by the Member States, makes provision for the Council of Ministers unanimously to adopt measures to combat all forms of discrimination (including discrimination based on sexual orientation), the ECJ decided in this case that Community law does not cover discrimination based on sexual orientation.  http://europa.eu.int/abc/obj/amst/en/index.htm  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/undefined/amsterdam-treaty-brings-small-advances-for-employment-and-social-policy
27 März 1998
At a meeting in Brussels on 16 February 1998, the EU Economic and Financial Affairs Council of Ministers expressed their doubts over the real impact on employment of a reduction of value-added tax (VAT) on labour-intensive services. This proposal was included in a Communication from the European Commission (EU9711161N ) drawn up in preparation for the special European Council Jobs Summit  held in Luxembourg in November 1997 (EU9711168F ). The Commission document examined the scope for Member States to reduce the rate of VAT levied on a limited number of labour-intensive local services, such as repair services, the renovation and repair of buildings, theme parks, cleaning and laundry services, home helps and care for children, disabled and older people. It was suggested that a reduction of VAT could be applied in very limited number of cases in order to test the job-creation potential of such measures, particularly for low-skilled and long-term unemployed individuals. Calls for a reduction of VAT on labour-intensive services were voiced by the social partners representing workers in the cleaning industry at a seminar held in October 1997 to discuss new employment opportunities in the sector (EU9710153F ).  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/commission-suggests-boosting-job-creation-potential-through-vat-cuts  http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/elm/summit/en/home.htm  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/undefined/employment-summit-agrees-limited-package-of-measures-to-combat-unemployment  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/undefined/conference-highlights-contribution-of-sectoral-social-dialogue-to-the-european-employment-strategy
27 März 1998
The Maastricht and Amsterdam Treaties strengthened the role of intersectoral and sectoral social partner organisations in the European decision-making process. While the outcomes of intersectoral discussions between the Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe (UNICE), the European Centre of Enterprises with Public Participation and of Enterprises of General Economic Interest (CEEP) and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) are widely reported, the processes, participants and outcomes of the sectoral social dialogue process are less well known. This EIRO record - which focuses on the sectoral social dialogue in the public services - is the first in a new series outlining the actors involved in, and the outcomes of, a process which is gaining increasing momentum and importance at the European level.
27 März 1998
The UK EU Presidency of the first half of 1998 has issued a proposal aimed at breaking the 25-year deadlock on European Commission proposals for the establishment of a European Company Statute. The Statute would enable European multinational undertakings to operate under rules governed by EU company law, rather than a diverse set of different regulations in different Member States. It is also envisaged that such companies should benefit from a special tax status, thus increasing their competitiveness in the world market. Although the fine details of the status of such a structure in company law are yet to be ironed out, most of the controversy which has stalled this proposal has centred around the issue of worker involvement in such a new structure. In 1996, a high-level expert group was set up by the Commission with the aim of developing solutions to this problem which would assist in breaking the deadlock, particularly in respect of those countries which feared that such legislation would undermine strong national involvement rights, as well as objections from those countries which currently have no legal mechanisms for ensuring employee involvement.
27 Februar 1998
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has expressed concern about a proposal issued by the European Commission, which seeks to ensure the free movement of goods within the European Union during periods when an industrial dispute is taking place in a Member State.