On 3 June 1997, an agreement was finally reached between the Generalitat
(Catalonia's autonomous regional government) and the central Government in
Spain to transfer part of the management of the National Institute of
Employment (INEM) to the Catalan regional administration. A historic demand
that has been made for over 15 years has thus been satisfied. For the central
Government, the transfer of INEM to Catalonia is a "pilot scheme" that will
serve as a basis for the transfer of powers in this field to other autonomous
communities such as Galicia and the Basque Country.
With the agreement of 30 May between the Building Workers' Union and the
Employers' Federation of the Swedish Construction Industry, the last of
1997's major collective agreements was concluded. It gave 70,000 building
workers an increase of SEK 2.50 per hour and, for the first time, payment
during certain public holidays. According to the union, this represents an
overall pay increase of 3.1%, while the employers estimate its value to be
2.6%. Irrespective of who is right, the agreement is very much in line with
the 1997 average settlement.
On 4 June, Padraig Flynn, the European Commissioner responsible for social
affairs, employment and industrial relations, launched a consultation
document on "information and consultation of workers within the national
framework" (EU9706132F ). The document constitutes the first stage of
consultation of the European-level social partners under the Maastricht
social policy Agreement procedure, and could thus lead to a European-level
agreement and/or Community legislation. If the Commission's proposals bear
fruit, there would be minimum standards across Europe to ensure that workers
enjoy rights to be informed and consulted. These rights would apply to all
workers in enterprises above a certain size (50 employees has been suggested
as a possible threshold). The new measure would reinforce existing
requirements on national information and consultation over transfers of
undertakings, collective redundancies and health and safety issues.
The confederation of Critical Shareholders (Kritische Aktionäre) is an
alliance of about 35 small shareholders' groups and other non-governmental
organisations such as environmental, consumer and anti-militaristic groups.
Currently, the Critical Shareholders are active in about 40 German
corporations including the most important German banks as well as various
industrial corporations in the automobile, electronic, chemical and food
industries. They can call on up to 5% of the votes cast in some of the
The European Council meeting in Amsterdam on 16 and 17 June 1997 concluded
the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) with the agreement of a new draft
Treaty. The conclusion of the IGC leaves the path open for launching the
enlargement process, and the timetable for the single currency has equally
been reaffirmed. Economic stability, growth and employment also featured
prominently in talks between the governments of the 15 member states.
Reinforced by the participation of members from the two new left-of-centre
governments of France and the United Kingdom, the European Council agreed to
give fresh momentum to keeping employment firmly at the top of the European
The debate on reforming the law to permit trade unions in the PSP - in
relation specifically to policemen and women - broke out again in Portugal at
the end of 1996, and has been continuing ever since. The debate, fully
covered in the media and commented on by the main political parties,
culminated on 21 April 1997 with a meeting of PSP members, many of whom wore
their uniforms. The meeting turned into a public demonstration at the
Ministry of the Interior- the Ministry in charge of that particular police
force - with harsh words being shouted at the Minister.
Tourism is one of Austria's major industries, contributing an estimated 10%
of the GDP. There are about 70,000 businesses with a turnover that has
recently stabilised at about ATS 180,000 million. Employment is about 142,000
on annual average, or roughly 5% of the national total. In the peak season,
in mid-summer, the industry employs about 160,000 people. Neither employment
figure includes the employers themselves, who are an important part of the
workforce in the industry. The median gross income for a complete full-time
working month of 30 days in 1995 was ATS 15,980, as against ATS 22,600 for
all industries together. The low incomes correlate with a large share of
female employees. In 1995, the number of people employed for at least one day
stood at 221,127. Of these, 134,614 were women, of whom 119,865 were employed
on a waged basis and only 14,749 on salaries. Such a small share of salaried
employees, both among men and women is unusual. At the same time, the
profitability of large parts of the industry is repeatedly cast in doubt by
The Vlaams Blok, a xenophobic and extreme right-wing Flemish nationalist
party, is currently seeking legitimacy as the defender of "ordinary people".
With its populist stand against immigrants and French-speakers, the party has
won a large number of votes in some towns in Flanders, particularly amongst
those sections of the population most badly hit by unemployment and worsening
The ECJ's ruling on 11 March 1997 in the case of /Süzen v Zehnacher
Gebäudereinigung GmbH Krankenhausservice and another/ (Case C-13/95) made a
potential "U-turn" in the interpretation of the EU Directive on transfers of
undertakings, that has left a question mark over the way that the employment
rights of the employees of contractors are decided. The ruling stems from a
court case in Germany in which a school cleaner, Ayse Süzen, lost her job
when her employer failed to keep the cleaning contract at the school where
she worked. Ms Süzen challenged the decision of the new contractor not to
re-employ the cleaning workers dismissed by their original employer.
On 25 April 1997, the Saxon metalworking employers' association
(Arbeitgeberverband der Sächsischen Metall- und Elektroindustrie, VSME) and
the metalworkers' trade union, IG Metall, signed new collective agreements
for the 87,000 employees in the Saxon metal industry. The agreements include
a new agreement on wages and salaries, new framework agreements for white-
and blue-collar workers, and a new agreement to secure employment
(Beschäftigungssicherungstarifvertrag). The agreements mainly follow the
pattern of the agreements which have already been agreed in other regions of
eastern Germany, and conclude the 1997 collective bargaining round in east
Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) paints a wide-ranging picture of Europe at work across countries, occupations, sectors and age groups. This series consists of findings from the European Working Conditions Telephone Survey (EWCTS) 2021, an extraordinary edition conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey was first carried out in 1990.
This publication series gathers all overview reports on developments in working life, annual reviews in industrial relations and working conditions produced by Eurofound on the basis of national contributions from the Network of Eurofound Correspondents (NEC). Since 1997, these reports have provided overviews of the latest developments in industrial relations and working conditions across the EU and Norway. The series may include recent ad hoc articles written by members of the NEC.
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).