Should people who run their own businesses be allowed to become a trade union
member? The Swedish Union for Technical and Clerical Employees (Svenska
Industritjänstemannaförbundet, SIF) answered yes to this question when, in
1996 its congress decided, after a very lively debate, to allow union
membership for the self-employed. Opponents saw the decision as a breach of
the fundamental trade union principle of looking after workers' interests in
relation to their employer. They also pointed out the risks of internal
conflicts - situations where employees in a company might be competing with
external self-employed people for the same job.
A reform of the rules on overtime working has been pending in Spain since the
social partners and the government made a commitment in this area in 1997.
However, there has still been little progress, with the 1999 National Action
Plan on employment, issued in May 1999, containing no measures to reduce and
reorganise working time.
Early summer 1999 had seen a number of disputes breaking out in the transport
sector, with commentators believing that Austria potentially faced a summer
of disruption on the roads and in the air (AT9906150F ). This had failed
to materialise by late July.
Some 70% of chairs of company boards and 60% of managing directors, in a
sample of 660 Swedish companies with more than 25 workers, have a positive
attitude towards employee representatives on the boards of companies. This is
among the findings of a survey, released on 5 July 1999, commissioned by the
Swedish Trade Union Confederation (Landsorganisationen i Sverige, LO) and the
Federation of Salaried Employees in Industry and Services
(Privattjänstemannakartellen, PTK), which represents 1.2 million members of
white-collar trade unions. The survey, entitled /The representation of
employees on company boards/ (Anställdas representationi företagsstyrelser)
was carried out by Klas Levinsson, a researcher at the National Institute for
Working Life (Arbetslivsinstitutet, ALI). No larger studies on the subject
have been conducted since the end of the 1970s.
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.
In late June 1999, the Spanish central government lodged an appeal with the
Constitutional Court against the Navarre regional government's recent law on
the 35-hour working week, because it considers that the tax benefits arising
from it are unconstitutional.
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.
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.
The European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) launched in 1990 and is carried out every five years, with the latest edition in 2020. 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 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 two rounds – in April and in July 2020. 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 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.
The European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) is carried out every four to five years since its inception in 2003, with the latest edition in 2016. It examines both the objective circumstances of people's lives and how they feel about those circumstances and their lives in general. It covers issues around employment, income, education, housing, family, health and work–life balance. It also looks at subjective topics, such as people's levels of happiness and life satisfaction, and perceptions of the quality of society.