The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) announced in April 1997 that
"absenteeism" - the non-attendance of workers who are expected to be at work
- had cost UK business GBP 12 billion in 1996; an average of GBP 533 for
every employee. Just prior to the CBI announcement, the Manufacturing,
Science, Finance (MSF) trade union had announced the results of a survey
which highlighted the lack of a "feel-good" factor among employees due to
increasing job insecurity ("Union survey suggest little 'feel good effect' in
reality", MSF press release (8 April 1997)). These kinds of surveys have
elements in common, yet few acknowledge or even see what the linkages are.
On 22 April 1997 the European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued a judgment
stating that some provisions of the German Civil Law (Bürgerliches
Gesetzbuch,BGB) as well as the German Labour Court Law
(Arbeitsgerichtsgesetz, ArbGG) offend against the "Council Directive on the
implementation of the principle of equal treatment for men and women as
regards access to employment, vocational training and promotion and working
conditions" (76/207/EEC). The Directive which was adopted by the Council of
Ministers on 9 February 1976 proclaimed that the Member States shall put into
effect the "principle of equal treatment" (§ 1) which means "that there
shall be no discrimination whatsoever on grounds of sex either directly or
indirectly" (§ 2).
In anticipation of the spring 1997 collective bargaining round, pilots at
Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) are considering contributing to the company's
cost-cutting programme by exchanging salaries for share options and an
increased say in company policy. Unions are divided over this exchange.
Following the settlement of the public service nurses pay dispute (IE9702104N
), health workers, prisons officers, police and other public service
groups have been seeking follow-on increases based on parity claims - all of
which relate to the settlement secured by Ireland's 25,000 nurses.
The debate on reforming the law to permit trade unions in the PSP - in
relation specifically to policemen and women - broke out again in Portugal at
the end of 1996, and has been continuing ever since. The debate, fully
covered in the media and commented on by the main political parties,
culminated on 21 April 1997 with a meeting of PSP members, many of whom wore
their uniforms. The meeting turned into a public demonstration at the
Ministry of the Interior- the Ministry in charge of that particular police
force - with harsh words being shouted at the Minister.
Tourism is one of Austria's major industries, contributing an estimated 10%
of the GDP. There are about 70,000 businesses with a turnover that has
recently stabilised at about ATS 180,000 million. Employment is about 142,000
on annual average, or roughly 5% of the national total. In the peak season,
in mid-summer, the industry employs about 160,000 people. Neither employment
figure includes the employers themselves, who are an important part of the
workforce in the industry. The median gross income for a complete full-time
working month of 30 days in 1995 was ATS 15,980, as against ATS 22,600 for
all industries together. The low incomes correlate with a large share of
female employees. In 1995, the number of people employed for at least one day
stood at 221,127. Of these, 134,614 were women, of whom 119,865 were employed
on a waged basis and only 14,749 on salaries. Such a small share of salaried
employees, both among men and women is unusual. At the same time, the
profitability of large parts of the industry is repeatedly cast in doubt by
Meeting on 17 April 1997, the Labour and Social Affairs Council of Ministers
took stock of initiatives by the European Commission and the Council
Presidency aimed at improving information, consultation and participation
mechanisms for employees. Padraig Flynn, the commissioner responsible for
employment, industrial relations and social affairs, highlighted the
importance of such initiatives in the light of the Renault crisis (EU9703108F
). He also reported on the current status of the work by the high-level
expert working group on worker involvement.
The Vlaams Blok, a xenophobic and extreme right-wing Flemish nationalist
party, is currently seeking legitimacy as the defender of "ordinary people".
With its populist stand against immigrants and French-speakers, the party has
won a large number of votes in some towns in Flanders, particularly amongst
those sections of the population most badly hit by unemployment and worsening
The ECJ's ruling on 11 March 1997 in the case of /Süzen v Zehnacher
Gebäudereinigung GmbH Krankenhausservice and another/ (Case C-13/95) made a
potential "U-turn" in the interpretation of the EU Directive on transfers of
undertakings, that has left a question mark over the way that the employment
rights of the employees of contractors are decided. The ruling stems from a
court case in Germany in which a school cleaner, Ayse Süzen, lost her job
when her employer failed to keep the cleaning contract at the school where
she worked. Ms Süzen challenged the decision of the new contractor not to
re-employ the cleaning workers dismissed by their original employer.
On 25 April 1997, the Saxon metalworking employers' association
(Arbeitgeberverband der Sächsischen Metall- und Elektroindustrie, VSME) and
the metalworkers' trade union, IG Metall, signed new collective agreements
for the 87,000 employees in the Saxon metal industry. The agreements include
a new agreement on wages and salaries, new framework agreements for white-
and blue-collar workers, and a new agreement to secure employment
(Beschäftigungssicherungstarifvertrag). The agreements mainly follow the
pattern of the agreements which have already been agreed in other regions of
eastern Germany, and conclude the 1997 collective bargaining round in east
The European Restructuring Monitor (ERM) has reported on the employment impact of large-scale business restructuring since 2002. This publication series include the ERM reports, as well as blogs, articles and working papers on restructuring-related events in the EU27 and Norway.
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 European Working Conditions Telephone Survey (EWCTS) 2021, an extraordinary edition conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey was first carried out in 1990.
This publication series gathers all overview reports on developments in working life, annual reviews in industrial relations and working conditions produced by Eurofound on the basis of national contributions from the Network of Eurofound Correspondents (NEC). Since 1997, these reports have provided overviews of the latest developments in industrial relations and working conditions across the EU and Norway. The series may include recent ad hoc articles written by members of the NEC.
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.
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.
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.
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).
The interaction between workers and machines has increased due to the rapid advancement of automation technologies. The new wave of robots can perform tasks with more flexibility, greater sophistication and in a way that protects workers’ physical safety. Drawing on case studies of advanced robotics, this report explores the benefits and risks that come with closer human–machine interaction, the organisational practices needed to deal with emerging issues and the real concerns and challenges.
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.