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Corporate social responsibility has been an issue for debate among the
Finnish social partners in recent times. As part of this process, in January
2002, the SAK blue-collar trade union confederation expressed concern about
the effects on workers of changes in the economic environment and working
life, and challenged employers to define 'good work' and its content. In the
employers' view, companies must have a free hand to define their social
In 2000, the then Social Democrat-led government set up a so-called 'think
tank' to examine the integration of immigrants. The intention was that the
appointed members of the body were to look at integration in Denmark in a
broad perspective, both by making projections about the number of foreign
national in Denmark over the next 20 years, and by coming up with new
proposals for better integration methods.
In a report on occupational safety and health (/Bericht Ã¼ber den Stand von
Sicherheit und Gesundheit bei der Arbeit und Ã¼ber das Unfall- und
Berufskrankheitengeschehen in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland im Jahr 2000/)
issued in January 2002, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs presented
comprehensive data on work-related accidents and occupational diseases in
2000. According to a statement by Walter Riester, the Minister of Labour,
2000 proved to be very successful in terms of health and safety at work,
because the risk of being injured or suffering from occupational diseases had
never been lower since the ministry started to publish data on this issue. Mr
Riester also emphasised that, by following the EU social policy agenda 
(EU0007266F ) as agreed upon at the June 2000 Nice European Council summit
(EU0012288F ), his ministry would continue to improve the quality of
After five years of difficult negotiations, the first ever collective
agreement for the sector of employment agencies specialised in the hiring-out
of labour (Arbeitsüberlassungsgewerbe) was signed on 15 January 2002. It was
negotiated by the Metalworking and Textiles Union (Gewerkschaft
Metall-Textil, GMT) and the general crafts and trades subunit of the Austrian
Chamber of the Economy (Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, WKÖ). The agreement
covers almost 27,000 agency workers, who are primarily employed in the
metalworking sector. The vast majority of metalworking employees and hence
also of temporary agency workers are men. While white-collar workers amongst
the agency workers –18% of the total – were already covered by another
collective agreement - the agreement for the 'trade' sector (Allgemeines
Gewerbe) - the blue-collar workers were not.
In November 2001, an innovative agreement was reached by management and
workers' representatives at the Athens Hilton hotel, which will be
temporarily closed for renovations until 2003. The agreement provides for a
continued employment relationship, with a degree of wage compensation, for
many of the hotel's employees.
Sectoral social dialogue at European level has made considerable progress
over the three years since its structures were reformed on the basis of
suggestions made by the European Commission in May 1998 (EU9806110F ). A
total of 26 sectoral social dialogue committees are currently in place,
according to the Commission, with the prospect of more being set up in the
short and medium term. This feature looks at the main joint texts which have
been agreed within the framework of the sectoral social dialogue during 2000
and 2001. These are summarised in the table below.
In mid-December 2001, after lengthy negotiations, Spain's central trade union
confederations and employers' organisations concluded an 'Agreement for
collective bargaining 2002'. The deal lays down guidelines and criteria for
lower-level bargaining in 2002, including pay increases linked to inflation
and productivity gains, and a focus on employment and health and safety.
Issues related to the presence of refugees and non-EU immigrants in Denmark
and, in particular to their integration into Danish society, have been the
subject of intensive and often heated debate in recent years (DK0005179F
). Following the general election in November 2001, when the previous
Social Democrat-led government was replaced by a coalition of the Liberal
Party (Venstre) and Conservative People's Party (Konservative Folkeparti)
(DK0112147F ), the issue was again placed in the spotlight by the new
government's proposals on integration, which include a proposed reduction of
social security benefits and allowances for refugees, with the aim of getting
them into employment.
This report describes the operation of workplace gender equality strategies in seven countries of the European Union and assesses their impact on both employees and the organisation. It explains the reasons for the success or failure of these programmes and draws up recommendations for action aimed at providing decision makers with the relevant information they need in order to give an impetus to gender equality in the workplace.
On 17 December 2001, the UK government announced that it would accept the
recommendations of three independent pay review bodies covering 130,00
doctors and dentists, 52,000 professions allied to medicine (eg therapists
and radiographers), and 410,000 nurses, midwives and health visitors,
employed in the National Health Service (NHS). These groups of NHS staff will
receive a pay increase of 3.6% or more in April 2002.