EurWORK European Observatory of Working Life

Articles

EurWORK articles cover working life in Europe, in particular the fields of industrial relations and working conditions. The articles are based on quarterly reporting provided by the Network of Eurofound Correspondents.

  • Topical updates summarise and update developments around selected topics, which are relevant across a number of Member States at the same time
  • Spotlight reports cover in more depth country-level events, debates and changes in regulation related to working life, aiming to provide a balanced view of all parties’ positions
  • Research in Focus articles report on important research findings (including surveys) from the national level, often, but not exclusively, in the area of working conditions
  • In brief articles are short news items drawn from the correspondents' quarterly reports
  • Country updates summarise developments at national level and are published 4 times a year

13895 items found
  • Recent trends in health and safety at work

    Health and safety at work has arisen as a very serious matter of social concern over recent years and has become a focus of interest for both the state and the social institutions concerned. The magnitude and complexity of the problem and the need to find direct and effective solutions have induced both employers and employees to examine the problem of occupational hazards and conditions affecting the working environment in general. It is estimated that in Greece the national economy is burdened by GRD 20 billion a year due to accidents at work (excluding costs of medical care). The Social Insurance Foundation (IKA) alone receives 25,000 reports of accidents at work a year. The problem is even bigger if we add in the cost of occupational illnesses which remain undiagnosed, since these are ignored by the official statistics.
  • Government introduces supplementary pension schemes

    The new decree, issued on 14 January, brings Italian pensions legislation more into line with the rest of the EU. Presenting the decision to the press, the Minister of Labour, Tiziano Treu said that "1997 will be the year in which a real supplementary social security system will begin to be set up in Italy.".
  • Agreement on working time at EDF and GDF

    On 21 January 1997, the two French electricity and gas public utility companies signed an agreement with three trade unions ( the CFDT, the CFTC and the CFE-CGC). This agreement is designed to improve their competitiveness and productivity while at the same time maintaining their workforce at current levels. This is to be achieved mainly through the introduction of part-time working. Both the CGT and the CGT-FO unions are strongly critical of this agreement.
  • Only one firm in five has a works council

    In the Works Constitution [1] Act (Betriebsverfassungsgesetz) of 1972, works councils [2] in Germany are given extensive rights of information, consultation and co-determination [3]. The employer has to provide the works council with both timely and comprehensive information on all matters related to the discharge of its functions. In establishments with over 20 employees, information must be given "in full and in good time" on reductions in operations and the introduction of new working methods. Consultation rights cover planned structural alterations to the plant and prospective changes in equipment and working methods that affect job requirements, all decisions relating to manpower planning, and individual dismissals. [1] www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/efemiredictionary/works-constitution-0 [2] www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/efemiredictionary/works-council-2 [3] www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/efemiredictionary/co-determination-2
  • Ford case highlights the costs of inward and outward investment

    The Ford Motor Company announced on 16 January 1997 that it was to cut 1,300 jobs at its Halewood plant on Merseyside (in the north-west of England) This was after five days of speculation following a report in the /Observer/ newspaper that Ford wanted to install new efficient working practices, and that it would threaten to build its new -generation Escort model elsewhere, or close the plant altogether if trade unions did not agree to concessions. It was confirmed on 16 January that production of the new-model Escort would not include Halewood but instead be located at Saarlouis (Germany) and Valencia (Spain), and furthermore that Halewood would also immediately reduce its shift pattern to one shift per day. Because production of the old-model Escort is due to be phased out by 2000, there appears to be a real threat of the plant closing down altogether
  • Renault closes assembly plant in Vilvoorde without prior notice

    This action, which came as a complete surprise to the 3,100 employees, is part of the French-owned motor manufacturer's "new industrial strategy" of concentrating production to cut its financial losses. Michel de Virville, managing director of Renault, announced the closure adding that:
  • European Commission publishes progress report on equitable wages

    The European Commission has recently published its report on progress made in the implementation of equitable wage policies since 1993. The aim of providing all employees with an equitable wage was enshrined in the Charter of the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers, which was adopted by 11 member states (with the exception of the UK) in 1989. In accordance with the 1989 social Action Programme, the Commission published an Opinion in 1993, which stated that the pursuit of an equitable wage must be seen as part of the general drive to achieve higher productivity and employment creation, and to foster good relations between the two sides of industry. The member states were encouraged to give substance to their commitment made in adopting the Social Charter, by working towards the establishment of an equitable wages policy. This was to be achieved through greater labour market transparency with regard to wages. The social partners were also called upon to contribute to the achievement of this aim.
  • Government proposes amendments in wage guarantee legislation

    On 19 February, the Government presented a bill to Parliament, proposing modifications in the legislation concerning the granting of workers' claims in case of their employer's insolvency. There is no doubt that it will be passed by Parliament. This will then be the second time the legislation has been modified in order to comply with EU Council Directive 80/987/EEC on this subject.
  • Training or work experience for unskilled young people

    Unskilled young people aged between 20 and 24 must undertake training or work experience programmes in order to maintain their right to receive unemployment benefit, according to a recent amendment to the Act on Labour Market Support.
  • New agreement improves working conditions in temporary employment agencies

    On 31 January 1997, the Second National Agreement on Temporary Employment Agencies was signed. This is the second agreement reached in this sector since the activity of temporary employment agencies (TEAs) in Spain was approved in 1994. It will remain in force until 31 December 1999.

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