On 7 July 1999, delegations from France's five main trade union
confederations (CFE-CGC, CFDT, CFTC, CGT and CGT-FO) met to study the
government's recent proposal for a second law on the 35-hour working week and
compare points of view.
The president of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Sir Clive
Thompson, has sparked controversy by warning that the much-discussed concept
of partnership may be hiding a "damaging build-up of trade union influence".
His remarks, made in a speech to an audience of employers on 23 June 1999,
have been strongly criticised by union leaders and have highlighted the
diverging interpretations placed on the idea of partnership by different
groups of practitioners and policymakers. The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has
been actively promoting the concept of union-based partnership at work, but
the government and employers' organisations are unwilling to accept that
partnership arrangements necessarily require union involvement (UK9906108F
In July 1999, sectoral trade unions and employers' associations signed a new
national collective agreement for Italy's banking industry. The main
innovations in the deal concern the redefinition of the area covered by the
agreement, the creation of a new "executive middle managers" category, the
renewal of the industrial relations system, working time reduction and pay
On 14 January 1999, the central European-level social partners - 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) -
reached a draft framework agreement on the rights of workers on fixed-term
contracts  (EU9901147F ). The text was officially signed on 18 March
1999, after ratification by the statutory bodies of the three organisations
Magna International, one of the world's major automotive components
manufacturers, based in Canada, and founded and owned by a 1950s Austrian
emigrant, in 1998 acquired the Austrian Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG (SDP) for about
ATS 4 billion. At the same time, Magna continued to expand its own Austrian
operations. It has, by its own reckoning, so far invested ATS 11 billion in
Austria and created 1,300 jobs while cutting 100 jobs in one of the SDP
plants. While engineering jobs are carried out for a wide variety of
customers, much of the manufacturing output is destined for Daimler-Chrysler.
Recently, major orders were also received from BMW's Rover subsidiary, from
Opel and Saab ( the two General Motors subsidiaries), and from Volkswagen.
The latter order is expected to create another 300 jobs. Magna, however, is
threatening to divert the investment to Hungary or Germany because it feels
that its welcome in Austria has soured and its treatment has become unfair.
At the end of June 1999, trade unions and employers in private sector
industry appointed eight impartial chairs for their forthcoming collective
bargaining round. Under the March 1997 agreement on cooperation and pay
regulation in the industry sector (SE9703110N ), such impartial chairs on
their own initiative join the negotiations over a new collective agreement
one month before the existing agreement is to expire and ensure that the
negotiations end in due time. The 1997 agreement was signed by eight trade
union federations and 12 employers' associations, representing some 10,000
companies and 800,000 employees. The aims of the agreement include the
conclusion of new collective agreements without any strikes or lock-outs.
/It seems inevitable that increasing economic integration and competition
within Europe will have some influence on national collective bargaining. The
aim of this comparative study is to provide an assessment, as of summer 1999,
of the extent to which the processes and outcomes of bargaining in the 15
Member States of the EU, plus Norway, are developing a cross-border, European
dimension. The study outlines the diverse processes, both implicit and
explicit, which can be said to be leading towards a "Europeanisation" of
collective bargaining. Developments across the 16 countries concerned are
examined at intersectoral, sectoral and enterprise levels, with a special
focus on metalworking and financial services, and the views of the social
partners are summarised./
As is the case every year on the same date, the hourly rate of France's
statutory minimum wage (SMIC) was increased on 1 July 1999. In light of the
move to the statutory 35-hour working week on 1 January 2000, the government
deviated from its practice of announcing a greater increase in the SMIC than
that provided for by the legislation. The creation of of a wage supplement
for those employees who have moved to the 35-hour week means that there will
be two parallel monthly SMIC rates for some time.
On 7 July 1999, the trade and industry secretary Stephen Byers, initiated
consultations with employer and trade union organisations on two proposed
amendments to the Working Time Regulations 1998, which seek to implement the
EU working time Directive (93/104/EC). The amendments - relating to the scope
of the derogation for "unmeasured working time" and the record-keeping
requirements for workers who have signed an "individual opt-out" from the
48-hour limit on average weekly working hours - are intended to "help
employers come to terms with the Regulations". The government's move follows
extensive complaints from employers' groups that the working time
Regulations, which came into force in October 1998 (UK9810154F ), have led
to confusion and increased bureaucracy.
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.
Eurofound's representativness 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 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.
While the EU is considered to be a global leader in gender equality, it is not yet a reality for millions of Europeans given the different dynamics in the Member States. The EU Gender Equality Strategy 2020–2025 acknowledges the slow speed of progress and outlines key actions to promote gender equality. Have all countries improved their performance? Which countries have been able to dramatically reduce gender inequality? Which countries lag behind?
The European Green Deal features high on Member State agendas. However, there are concerns that the necessary changes to climate policy may have undesirable socioeconomic consequences, such as regressive distributional effects and increased inequality. This report attempts to identify those policies where there is a significant risk involved and aims to provide guidance on how negative distributional risk can be mitigated.
Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, a high demand for labour and low unemployment levels made labour shortages one of the key policy concerns in the EU. Even where there is persistent and rising unemployment, individual countries, sectors and occupations are experiencing labour shortages, which in some instances have been accentuated by COVID-19. This report explores various approaches to measuring labour shortages and maps national policy debates around the issue.
Based on data from the European Company Survey 2019, this policy brief examines the characteristics of innovative companies and explores the types of workplace practices that are significantly associated with establishments' likelihood of introducing innovation. It also investigates differences between workplace practices of innovative and non-innovative companies. Additionally, data gathered through case studies analyse the role of workplace practices in different phases of the innovation process.
The issue of regional convergence and whether disadvantaged regions are catching up with wealthier regions continues to attract enormous attention in the policy debate. This report presents the findings of an investigation into the evolution of social imbalances across EU regions over time, based on indicators including unemployment, social exclusion and poverty. It also examines various aspects of the relationship between growth, regional disparities and interpersonal inequalities.
This report examines the labour market changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected sectors and occupations quite differently. It identifies those labour market categories most exposed to negative labour market outcomes. It analyses how differences in confinement and public health approaches may have contributed to different outcomes. It addresses previous assessments of the extent of occupational ‘teleworkability’ and of the sectoral impact of confinement rules. The report draws on EU Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS) data for its analysis.
Digital technologies have made it possible for many workers to carry out their work anytime and anywhere, with consequent advantages and disadvantages. Disadvantages, for remote workers and teleworkers in particular, include the risk to health and well-being linked to long working hours. To address this issue, there have been calls for the ‘right to disconnect’. This report includes case studies that chart the implementation and impact of the right to disconnect at workplace level.
This report examines people's optimism about the future, for themselves and for others, and the extent to which it varies depending on one's social situation and perceptions of the quality of society. The study includes an analysis of the relationships between people’s perceptions of fairness and objective indicators of their social and economic situation and living standards.
This report investigates the convergence of Member States in various dimensions of living conditions. Indicators are drawn from the European Quality of Life Surveys and other surveys. The analysis pays special attention to particular subgroups such as young people and women. The analysis also investigates the key drivers of convergence in living conditions.
This joint publication with the European Environment Agency (EEA) presents the findings from complementary research carried out simultaneously by both agencies on the socioeconomic impacts of climate policies and measures. While Eurofound focuses particularly on the distributional effects of these policies based on the experiences of Member States, the EEA analyses scientific research about the monetary and non-monetary social impacts of climate mitigation policies and its outcome in terms of inequalities.