In November 1996, the brewing group Interbrew, the still-expanding leader in
the market, announced the ending of bottling activities at its Belle Vue
Brewery in Molenbeek, an industrial district of Brussels. It meant the loss
of 103 jobs out of 167 in the company's bottling section. Since then,
management had been negotiating a company plan with the unions to avoid
redundancies, and an original solution was eventually found and approved in a
company referendum on 18 April 1997. This solution is based on the terms of a
legislative measure that had been ratified on 13 March 1997, called the
Vandelanotte order after the Flemish Socialist minister: it allows companies
facing difficulties or restructuring to preserve jobs through a reduction of
working time linked to the reduction of social security contributions over
Total Quality Management (TQM) has been a leading development of the 1990s in
Britain. Surveys find that almost three-quarters of organisations claim to
have formal quality programmes, which are believed to work by increasing
employees' interest in their jobs and their understanding of how their work
contributes to organisational goals. Many of these programmes have been
introduced in the past five years. Definitions of TQM vary but its core
comprises: a focus on the customer; the improvement and inter-linking of
business processes; and continuous improvement ("Making quality critical", A
Wilkinson and H Willmott, eds, London, Routledge, 1995.).
On 28 April 1997, the German Public Services, Transport and Traffic Union
(Gewerkschaft Öffentliche Dienste, Transport und Verkehr, ÖTV) and the
German White-Collar Workers' Union (Deutsche Angestellten-Gewerkschaft, DAG)
announced the foundation of a new joint subsidiary union for the employees of
international and European organisations which are located in Germany.
Through the newly established "International Public Servants Organisation"
(IPSO), both unions want to create an effective interest representation for
the employees working in organisations like the European Monetary Institute
in Frankfurt or the European Patent Office in Munich. The foundation of IPSO
should also avoid competition between ÖTV and DAG in the recruitment of
members in international and European organisations, and should lead to a
closer cooperation between the unions. The latter is particularly important
because of the fact that the DAG is the only significant German trade union
which is not a member of the German Federation of Trade Unions (Deutscher
In Greece, temporary work, especially in the form of fixed-term contracts,
constitutes a policy widespread amongst enterprises in both private and
public sectors. Although the phenomenon of temporary work has decreased
considerably in comparison with the early 1990s, when its incidence was twice
that of the EU average (18% and 9% respectively), it is still quite high
(10.5% and 11% respectively). A factor contributing to this decrease was the
decision of the Government in the course of 1990 to dismiss 50,000 temporary
public employees as part of its attempt to rationalise the functioning of the
On 7 May, the Dutch Government withdrew a bill that would have allowed
employers exemptions from paying the statutory national minimum wage 
(NL9702103F ). Discussions in Parliament had arrived at a political
One of Ireland's smallest banks, the Ulster Bank, is seeking to replace its
incremental-based pay system with a new performance-related reward scheme for
most of its 1,000 staff in the Republic of Ireland. The bank's proposals have
been resisted by members of the banking union, the Irish Bank Officials
Association (IBOA). They have, however, been accepted by its staff in
Northern Ireland who are part of the British industrial relations system.
The high number of industrial injuries, recently reported by the Labour
Inspectorate, have fuelled the debate on the new Work Environment Act, which
is a part of the Government's action plan /Improved work environment year
2005/. According to the report on /Reported industrial injuries in the
building and construction sector, 1993-1995/, the sector experienced a 22%
increase in industrial injuries over the period in question (DK9704107F ).
The recession affecting Portuguese companies from 1991 to 1994 showed that
the difficulties faced by the country stemmed not just from economic
circumstances. Rather, the roots were far more complex and called for
structural changes to competitive factors involving the very fabric of
business and a general remodelling of managerial capacity, vocational
qualifications and financial structure.
In the retail and distributive sector, each type of shop - conventional
department stores, retail shops, food supermarkets with at least two branches
and independent retail shops - is covered by its own joint committee  and,
depending on its type, its employees work 36, 38 or 40 hours a week, have pay
differentials of between 20%- 25% and the right to be represented by a union
delegation  or not.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) announced in April 1997 that
"absenteeism" - the non-attendance of workers who are expected to be at work
- had cost UK business GBP 12 billion in 1996; an average of GBP 533 for
every employee. Just prior to the CBI announcement, the Manufacturing,
Science, Finance (MSF) trade union had announced the results of a survey
which highlighted the lack of a "feel-good" factor among employees due to
increasing job insecurity ("Union survey suggest little 'feel good effect' in
reality", MSF press release (8 April 1997)). These kinds of surveys have
elements in common, yet few acknowledge or even see what the linkages are.
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.