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.).
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
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.
On 22 April 1997 the European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued a judgment
stating that some provisions of the German Civil Law (Bürgerliches
Gesetzbuch,BGB) as well as the German Labour Court Law
(Arbeitsgerichtsgesetz, ArbGG) offend against the "Council Directive on the
implementation of the principle of equal treatment for men and women as
regards access to employment, vocational training and promotion and working
conditions" (76/207/EEC). The Directive which was adopted by the Council of
Ministers on 9 February 1976 proclaimed that the Member States shall put into
effect the "principle of equal treatment" (§ 1) which means "that there
shall be no discrimination whatsoever on grounds of sex either directly or
indirectly" (§ 2).
In anticipation of the spring 1997 collective bargaining round, pilots at
Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) are considering contributing to the company's
cost-cutting programme by exchanging salaries for share options and an
increased say in company policy. Unions are divided over this exchange.
Following the settlement of the public service nurses pay dispute (IE9702104N
), health workers, prisons officers, police and other public service
groups have been seeking follow-on increases based on parity claims - all of
which relate to the settlement secured by Ireland's 25,000 nurses.
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.
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.
After the Brussels Industrial tribunal (BE9704208N ), on 4 April it was a
French court's turn to find Renault's management guilty of disobeying the law
in a ruling which could well postpone the closure of the Vilvorde plant.
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.
Adequate, affordable housing has become a matter of great concern, with an alarming number of Europeans with low or lower household incomes unable to access any, especially in capital cities. Housing was a key factor in people’s experience of the COVID-19 pandemic: its quality and level of safety significantly affected how lockdowns and social distancing measures were experienced, with those who had no access to quality housing at higher risk of deteriorating living conditions and well-being.
The use of artificial intelligence, advanced robotics and the Internet of Things technologies in the workplace can bring about fundamental changes in work organisation and working conditions. This report analyses the ethical and human implications of the use of these technologies at work by drawing on qualitative interviews with policy stakeholders, input from the Network of Eurofound Correspondents and Delphi expert surveys, and case studies.