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
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 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.
In what legal experts in Ireland have highlighted as a landmark case on the
issue of indirect sex discrimination, Ireland's Supreme Court has asserted
the primacy of EU law over domestic law. Mary Honan, a legal expert with the
Employment Equality Agency said that the decision also established the
correct legal framework for establishing unlawful indirect discrimination.
Under the terms of a new bill, announced in April 1997, employees in the
Netherlands will be entitled to benefits if they interrupt their careers for
care or study leave, on condition that the employer hires an unemployed
person for the same period
An agreement for Italy's first regional occupational pensions fund was signed
in March 1997 by the Veneto local organisations of Confindustria, the main
employers' organisation, and of the CISL trade union confederation. The
initiative has met with hostility from CGIL and uncertainty from UIL, the
other two main union confederations.
According to the Austrian Chamber of the Economy (Wirtschaftskammer
Österreich, WKÖ) there were 162,339 salaried employees in industrial
establishments in 1995. This was nearly 35% of total employment in industry.
(There were another 8,605 in industrial enterprises in the construction
industry where they accounted for 23% of employment). The pay scales applying
to these employees have been changed from 1 May 1997, affecting 84% of the
total in industry. The changes come in the form of a collective agreement
concluded between the Federal Section Industry (Bundessektion Industrie) of
the WKÖ and the Industry and Crafts Section (Sektion Industrie und Gewerbe)
of the Union of Salaried Employees (Gewerkschaft der Privatangestellten,
GPA). The negotiations started in May 1995 and were concluded on 28 October
The recent Commission Communication on /Modernising and improving social
protection in the European Union/ (COM (97)102 of 12 March 1997- EU9703113N
) is merely the latest step in a long process of debate revolving around
the question of how systems of social protection can best be adapted to
today's changing economic, social and demographic situation. It is a debate
which has in the past clearly been influenced by the limited nature of
Community legal competence in this area. This is restricted to the
coordination of national social security schemes in cases where citizens
exercise their rights to free movement within the Union. Member states have
long resisted any attempts at a harmonisation of social protection systems,
which have developed very differently as a result of every country's
socio-economic, political and cultural heritage.
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.
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.
The fifth round of Eurofound's e-survey, fielded from 25 March to 2 May 2022, sheds light on the social and economic situation of people across Europe two years after COVID-19 was first detected on the European continent. It also explores the reality of living in a new era of uncertainty caused by the war in Ukraine, inflation, and rising energy prices.
As part of a process to collect information on essential services, the European Commission (DG EMPL) requested Eurofound to provide input on certain aspects of existing and planned measures in the Member States to improve access to essential services, in reference to Principle 20 of the European Pillar of Social Rights. The scope of the exercise included energy services, public transport and digital communications, and the focus was on people at risk of poverty or social exclusion (in practice, people on low incomes in most cases).
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 explores the association between skills use and skills strategies and establishment performance, and how other workplace practices, in terms of work organisation, human resources management and employee involvement, can impact on this. It looks at how skills shortages can be addressed, at least in part, by creating an environment in which employees are facilitated and motivated to make better use of the skills they already have. This further supports the business case for a more holistic approach to management.
This report focuses on trends and developments in collective bargaining that were evident from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. It examines potential new strategic approaches and priorities incorporated in negotiation agendas, as well as collective bargaining practices and coordination at sector and company levels in the private sector.
This policy brief will provide an update on upward convergence in the economic, social and institutional dimensions of the European Union, as outlined in the European Pillar of Social Rights and its accompanying Social Scoreboard.
Between 2021 and 2023 Eurofound is carrying out a pilot project on minimum wage on behalf of the European Commission. The question of how minimum wages and other forms of pay can be fixed for the self-employed is investigated as a part of this project through mapping national and sectoral approaches. Out of concern for the challenging conditions that the self-employed face, some Member States have established or are discussing establishing statutory forms of minimum pay for certain categories of self-employed.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the electricity 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 study on representativeness is to identify the relevant national and European social partner organisations in the electricity sector in the EU Member States.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the gas 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 gas sector in the EU Member States.