The high-level expert group on worker involvement was established in 1996
with the aim of developing solutions to break the 25-year deadlock on
European Commission proposals containing clauses on worker involvement, and
in particular, the European Company Statute (ECS). The Commission has
repeatedly stressed the importance of such a statute, enabling the
incorporation of companies at EU level, in order to improve the
competitiveness of European companies. Such proposals have long remained
blocked in the Council of Ministers, largely because of concerns from
countries with advanced employee participation systems which fear that the
ECS could be used by companies to circumvent national legislation in this
area. Similarly, a solution would have to avoid imposing foreign models of
employee representation upon member states where there is currently no
provision for the appointment of worker representatives to the boards of
New wage agreements were reached on 25 May 1997 covering the Norwegian state
sector, the municipal sector and the municipality of Oslo. The new agreements
include a voluntary early retirement scheme for the age-group from 62-63
years and moderate wage increases. The wage settlement for the public sector
is therefore in line with the settlement in the private sector with regard to
total wage growth.
On 21 April 1997, trade unions, employers' associations and the Government of
Andalucia signed an /Agreement on employment policy and economic development
for Andalucia/. This is the third tripartite agreement to be reached in this
region. It covers a period of two years (1997-8) and involves an investment
of about ESP 200 billion .
During the fourth bargaining round for its 90,000 employees, the German car
producer Volkswagen AG announced the creation of several hundred new jobs.
According to an agreement between management and the IG Metall trade union,
the newly hired employees will be employed exclusively on a temporary basis
and will de facto be remunerated below the level of the company agreements.
Although being hired on the terms of the current company agreements, the
newly hired employees will not be eligible for the compensatory extra pay
component which was agreed when Volkswagen established the four-day working
week in 1994, and thus they will be paid 10% less than core employees.
According to the agreement, details will be fixed by the social partners at
establishment level. During the negotiations, the IG Metall rejected
Volkswagen's plans to pay the newly hired employees according to the
branch-level metalworking agreement. The compensation of the new temporary
staff will still be around 10% higher than the pay other employees receive on
the basis of the current branch-level metalworking agreement.
On 7 May 1997 the Labour Court gave its judgment in a case that has attracted
much attention. It concerned three ambulance drivers, two men and one woman,
who had been dismissed on the grounds of disloyalty to their employer, a
private company that runs the ambulance service in parts of southern
Stockholm on contract.
In its recently published opinion on the conclusion of the Intergovernmental
Conference (IGC), the Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of
Europe (UNICE) underlines the need for the negotiating parties to "place a
strengthening of Europe's competitiveness at the heart of the (new) Treaty,
since promotion of competitiveness is the sine qua non to increase
employment". The promotion of employment can, according to UNICE, never be
treated in isolation. While European employers have repeatedly pronounced
themselves in favour of the Essen employment strategy, they are keen to
underline that responsibility for employment policy must continue to lie
primarily with the member states.
Over 1995-7, certain collective agreements in Spain have allowed employers to
recruit workers at lower wages than workers in the same job grade who are
already employed by the firm (the "dual pay scale"). Companies' objectives in
reducing labour costs and workers' objectives in creating employment seem to
be threatening the principles of solidarity and equality that have
traditionally been maintained by the unions.
On 29 April 1997, the management and works council at Mohn GmbH, a subsidiary
of one of Germany's biggest media corporations, Bertelsmann, signed a works
agreement - known as the "Pact for partnership 1997" - for the 1,700 or so
employees at the Mohn printing works in Gütersloh.
Part-time work is an expression of the flexible organisation of working time.
Although it is often quoted as a "new" form of employment, its practice has a
long history in Greece. However, its legal framework has been moulded by the
special provisions of the so-called Law on Development of 1990 (Law
1892/1990, articles 37-9), which regulated for the first time the rights of
workers employed on part-time contracts.
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.
Automation and digitisation technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), are undergoing a rapid evolution. This impacts working conditions in a variety of ways and raises a host of new ethical concerns. In recent times, the policy debate surrounding these concerns has become more prominent and has increasingly focused on AI. Key EU policy developments, especially in relation to AI, have shaped the policy debate in many EU Member States, and in some instances they have led to the adoption of new policy initiatives that address these concerns in the context of work and employment.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have varied across sectors, occupations and categories of worker (for instance, according to gender, age or employment status). Hours worked have declined the most in sectors such as accommodation services and food and beverage services, and in occupations heavily reliant on in-person interaction, such as sales work. At the same time, it’s in these sectors that labour shortages have become increasingly evident as labour markets have begun to normalise.
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.