Over the two-year period 1997-9, the social partners in Vienna and its city
government have joined forces to develop a more innovative approach to
Austria's most problem-ridden and least responsive labour market. In 1997 it
contained more than half of the unemployed people whose unemployment lasted
longer than 12 months and 42% of those whose unemployment lasted more than
six months. The number of people registered as unemployed at some time over
the year had risen by 1.4% over the 1996 level and made up 23% of the
Austrian total, roughly equivalent to the capital's share in employment.
However, the average number of people registered as unemployed stood at 29%
of the Austrian total. Employment kept being created outside the city limits,
centred in particular on the airport and the shopping and business parks.
Industrial employment was continually being relocated to "greenfield" sites.
No end to these structural disadvantages seemed in sight.
On 2-6 May 1998, industrial action was organised at Arlanda airport, near
Stockholm, by the Swedish Transport Workers' Union (Svenska
Transportarbetareförbundet, Transport) in support of Danish workers who were
then engaged in a major nationwide strike (DK9805168F ). In a blockade,
the union's members at the airport refused to load and unload luggage, reload
food supplies and refuel aircraft which had been diverted to Arlanda from
Denmark (SE9805186F ). On 19 May 1999, the Swedish Labour Court held
(/1999/65/) that the industrial action had been entirely in line with trade
Since coming to power in May 1997 (UK9704125F ), the Labour government has
placed a strong emphasis upon skills policies. The government sees
"upskilling" not only as an answer to problems of economic competitiveness
and the UK's generally poor record on productivity (UK9902182F ), but also
as a means of engendering greater social inclusion and cohesion. The main
thrust of the government's skills policies over the past two years has
centred on the education system, with further reform of the national
curriculum in schools, a policy of "naming and shaming" schools that are seen
to be failing, additional growth in student numbers in further and higher
education, and an increase in educational spending. In the field of training,
the scope and scale of changes has been more limited, but many of the
developments here have significant implications for the social partners. Here
we provide an overview of the most significant of these developments as they
relate to the employed workforce (as distinct from the range of measures
being pursued under the banner of "welfare to work" which aim to help
unemployed people back into work via jobs, education, training or work
In June 1999, the social partners in the woodworking and furniture sector of
Italy's north-eastern regions signed an agreement which aims at modifying the
pay system through a lower tax levy, and at introducing flexible working
hours. This new inter-regional collective bargaining level represents a
further development of the Italian bargaining process.
In April 1999, the Dutch social partners reached agreement within the Labour
Foundation on a framework for the further individualisation of terms of
employment. Whilst the essential lines of collective agreements will be
retained under the Foundation's recommendations, certain conditions of
employment may be swapped within a company on a "multiple-choice" basis.
On 4 June 1999, CGT and CFDT, the majority trade unions at France's SNCF rail
network, signed an agreement with the management on the reduction of working
time. This agreement, rejected by the other unions, had been the subject of a
referendum among the company's staff organised by management and the two
In May 1999, in response to a request from the Greek government,
representatives of trade unions and employers' organisations lodged their
proposals for the 1999 National Action Plan (NAP) on employment to implement
the EU Employment Guidelines. Here we focus on the proposals aimed at
encouraging the adaptability of businesses and their employees.
In June 1999, Spanish unions called a strike to demand the implementation of
the 1998-2005 coal mining plan, signed in July 1997. The strike received
massive support among the 20,000 coal miners, but the government criticised
the unions for exaggerating the problems.
The reduction of taxation on labour and other non-wage labour costs has been
part of the European Commission's strategy to raise employment for almost
five years, as it is considered that high non-wage labour costs, particularly
on low-paid labour, are leading to high rates of unemployment among
low-skilled workers and are encouraging clandestine, undeclared activity. The
Commission's 1999 Broad Economic Policy Guidelines  re-emphasised the
importance of Member States' reducing taxes, particularly on low-paid labour.
It is intended that this reduction in taxation of labour be offset by new
taxes or tax increases on environmental pollution, energy or consumption. The
social partners are similarly called upon to commit themselves to control
wage and other non-wage costs, as a contribution to the European employment
strategy. The draft Broad Economic Policy Guidelines estimate that, with an
average rate of 43% of GDP, the tax burden in the European Union in 13%
higher than in the USA. The tax burden indeed exceeds 40% in most of the EU
Member States, with only Ireland being comparable with the USA in this
respect. Despite the fact that the effective tax rate on labour and the
labour "tax wedge" have declined in the EU since 1994, the level of the "tax
wedge" indicates that around 50% of the gross wage is absorbed by taxes in a
number of EU Member States,
On 15 June 1999, the Austrian government failed to approve a legislative
proposal for submission to parliament that would have removed the remaining
legal differentiation between wage earners and salary earners (AT9801160N
). The two main distinctions that remain between them relate to
compensation during sick leave and regulations governing dismissal
(AT9903138N ). The Austrian Trade Union Federation (Österreichischer
Gewerkschaftsbund, ÖGB) and the Austrian Chamber of the Economy
(Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, WKÖ) had failed to resolve their own
differences on the question at a meeting on 9 June. WKÖ had submitted a
number of counter-demands in exchange for harmonisation, including:
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.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the civil aviation (groundcrew and air traffic control crew) 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 objective of this study is to examine the quality and effectiveness of the tripartite social dialogue practices involving national social partners aimed at addressing relevant reforms and particularly those adocpted as CSRs in the context of the European Semester. It also analyses the structural, political or operational reasons limiting or shaping the effective involvement of the social partners in these processes.