The first annual review of the social dialogue process at the European Union
level was adopted by the Commission on 6 May 1997. The review characterises
1996 as "a particularly fruitful and productive year" for the social dialogue
at European level. Despite this overall positive assessment, the review
highlights the fact that, despite endeavours towards the establishment of a
dialogue between the social partners, and in some cases, negotiation, this
represents only the background of a European-scale industrial relations
systems which is yet to take shape.
On 7 May 1997, a preliminary agreement (which requires ratification) was
signed for the renewal of the Italian national railworkers' contract. The new
contract, which comes into effect from January 1997 and will expire on 31
December 1999, deals with company recovery plans and pay.
An agreement on resolving labour disputes out of court was signed in January
1996 by Spain's largest unions (UGT and CC.OO) and employers' associations
(CEOE and CEPYME), covering the period until 31 December 2000. The agreement
built on the experience in mediation and arbitration at a regional level that
had grown on the basis of joint quasi-judicial institutions formed in the
1990s. We review the complex system which now applies in this area.
Employment yielding less than ATS 3,740 gross per month or less than ATS 859
per week or ATS 288 per day, is defined as "minor". Below this threshold,
neither employee nor employer has to contribute to the national pension or
health or unemployment insurance. Only national accident insurance has to be
paid. Minor employment therefore does not earn an entitlement to unemployment
benefits, maternity benefits, a pension, or medical coverage. On the other
hand, because of the lower cost, minor employment may be an incentive for
employers to hire.
The publication of an assessment commissioned by the National Assembly's
Finance Commission, and the campaign for the May/June 1997 general election,
have reopened the debate in France on the content and efficiency of the
Robien law, which seeks to encourage working time reductions and
reorganisation to create or save jobs. Politicians, economists, employers and
unions remain divided whilst the number of collective agreements at company
level based on the law is increasing.
Non-wage labour costs are those categories of the enterprise's total labour
costs comprising other than direct compensation. Today, non-wage labour costs
account for a very substantial and rising proportion of total labour costs.
Since increasing labour costs tend to encourage substitution away from labour
to more capital-intensive methods of production, rising non-wage labour costs
are an impediment to job creation. Furthermore, some non-wage labour costs -
such as social security contributions - drive a wedge between the labour
costs that companies pay and the money that workers receive, thus making
collective bargaining more difficult. Via unit labour costs - nominal labour
costs divided by real value added - non-wage labour costs are likely to have
some effect on companies' location decisions.
A frequently repeated statement in discussion on industrial relations is that
temporary employment will be much more common in the future. This assumption
is refuted in a recent report from the National Labour Market Board
May 1997 saw Unilever defending its pro-European stance to shareholders,
while the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) was also signalling its
willingness to work with the trade unions prior to the adoption of European
The findings of a Eurostat study entitled /Statistics in focus: income
distribution and poverty in the EU 12 - 1993/, published on 14 May 1997, show
that one out of six citizens and households in the 12 pre-1995 EU member
states live below the "poverty threshold". In more than half of these
countries, the figure was even higher - one in five. Even more alarmingly,
over one-third of poor households were working. These findings are drawn from
the first wave of statistics generated from the European Community Household
Panel (ECHP). The ECHP consists of a sample of 60,500 households selected
randomly in the 12 member states, using a harmonised questionnaire. This data
does not allow for a comparison of social change over time, but does provide
important information on the magnitude and dimensions of poverty and income
disparity in the European Union in the early 1990s. The figures show that
there are approximately 57 million socially excluded individuals in EU, a
problem affecting both more and less affluent member states.
The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO), the largest employee
confederation in Norway, held its four-yearly congress on 10-16 May 1997. The
most important issues were the question of continuing with the "Solidarity
Alternative", and the adoption of the Action Programme for the period
1997-2001. A discussion also took place between LO unions regarding the
confederation's policy towards the privatisation of public activities
(services), while the vice-presidency election received considerable
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.
This report captures the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the quality of life of older citizens, including the impact on their well-being, finances, employment and social inclusion. It explores the effects on care use and reliance on other support. The report analyses policy measures that have been implemented in EU Member States that have proven particularly important for the quality of life of older citizens, for example, measures to support independent living.
This report examines a number of collective labour disputes involving industrial action in EU Member States, Norway and the UK. It provides a comprehensive study of each labour dispute, including information on industrial action events and the context for each dispute, as well as the relevant topics, actors, attempts at resolution and outcomes. Different types of collective labour disputes and their occurrence in various countries and sectors are presented, indicating how they are linked to different industrial relations regimes.
Social dialogue lies at the heart of the EU treaties and governance. Social partners are core stakeholders who can assess policy needs and contribute to policy formation and to designing and implementing national reforms in the social and employment fields. This report focuses on the timely and meaningful involvement of national social partners in the preparation of the new resilience and recovery plans and the national reform programmes (NRPs) that were temporarily integrated under the European Semester in 2021.
This policy brief explores the social situation of Europeans with a disability during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using data from the March–April 2021 Living, working and COVID-19 e-survey, it compares the situation of respondents with and without a disability in three areas: perceptions of the healthcare system, mental well-being and financial precarity.
This report examines the phenomenon of overtime in the EU, providing a comparative description of how it is regulated in EU Member States. It also assesses how contentious the issue can be and investigates the reasons behind the various disputes and debates. Finally, the report attempts to quantify and characterise the share of overtime for which workers are not paid or compensated. The analysis is based on information collected in EU Member States by the Network of Eurofound Correspondents.
Living and working in Europe, Eurofound’s 2021 yearbook, provides a snapshot of the latest developments in the work and lives of Europeans as explored in the Agency’s research activities over the course of 2021. The range of topics as a result is broad, from the growing diversity of employment across EU regions to developments in minimum wages, and of course the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Every year, Eurofound compiles a report summarising the key developments in minimum wages across EU countries. The report explains how minimum wages are set and describes the role of social partners, covering the evolution of statutory rates, collectively agreed wages and the national debates on these issues.
This report will map the existing regulations on telework in European Union Member States, including in legislation and collective agreements. It will present the most recent changes to these regulations and shed light on how the future of (tele)work could be regulated at both national and EU level, in order to improve working conditions in telework arrangements and reduce the risks associated with telework and with specific ways of working remotely.
The civil aviation sector has been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is one of the most severe crises the sector has ever experienced, giving rise to a number of significant challenges for companies and workers alike. This study will explore the role of social dialogue and collective bargaining in how the sector is adapting to the pandemic. What kinds of changes have been introduced, either through social dialogue or collective bargaining? Are the changes temporary or permanent?
This report investigates the practical implementation of the European Works Council (EWC) Directive at company level. It explores the challenges faced by existing EWCs and provides examples of identified solutions and remaining issues from the point of view of both workers and management. The report looks at the way that EWCs meet the requirements of the EWC Directive in terms of establishing processes of information and consultation.