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
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.
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 .
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.
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.
After 10 days of boycotts and two hours of strike action among the cleaners
in the LKAB mine in northern Sweden, the Business Services Associations on
the one hand and the Building Maintenance Workers' Union and the Union of
Service and Communication on the other, accepted a draft collective agreement
on wages from the mediators on 16 May 1997. The agreement covers 25,000
employees in 600 companies. It means that the average monthly salary will be
raised by SEK 370.
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.
The European Restructuring Monitor (ERM) has reported on the employment impact of large-scale business restructuring since 2002. This publication series include the ERM reports, as well as blogs, articles and working papers on restructuring-related events in the EU27 and Norway.
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.
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 report explores the drivers of economic and social convergence in Europe, using a selected set of economic and social indicators to examine trends in the performance of individual Member States. It also investigates what role the Economic and Monetary Union plays in convergence, particularly in southern and eastern Member States. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on convergence is analysed and initial conclusions are drawn about the impact of EU recovery packages and their ability to prevent divergence.
The COVID-19 crisis has increased inequality between social groups in health, housing, employment, income and well-being. While a small part of society was able to hold on to or increase its wealth, other groups such as women, young people, older people, people with disabilities, low- and middle-income earners and those with young children were acutely affected by the pandemic. Drawing on current research on how to best measure multidimensional inequality, this report highlights recent trends in inequality in the context of the COVID-19 crisis.
In 2022, the European Semester was streamlined to integrate the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) established on 19 February 2021 (Regulation (EU) 2021/241). While facing the geopolitical and economic challenges triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Member States have been implementing the national Recovery and Resilience Plans (RRPs) for more than one year and around 100 billion euro in RRF funds have already been disbursed.
As economies emerge from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, labour shortages are becoming increasingly evident. These include shortages exacerbated by the crisis in some sectors and professions where they had been endemic for some time. This report will look at measures implemented at national level to tackle labour shortages in the health, care and information and communications technology sectors, as well as those arising from the twin digital and green transitions.
With the expansion of telework and different forms of hybrid work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important for policymakers to consider both the opportunities and the negative consequences that may result. This report will explore potential scenarios for such work. In doing so, it will identify trends and drivers, and predict how they might interact to create particular outcomes and how they are likely to affect workers and businesses. Policy pointers will outline what could be done to facilitate desirable outcomes and to avoid undesirable ones.
The urban-rural divide in EU countries has grown in recent years, and the depopulation of certain rural areas in favour of cities is a challenge when it comes to promoting economic development and maintaining social cohesion and convergence. Using data from Eurofound and Eurostat, this report will investigate the trends and drivers of the urban-rural divide, in various dimensions: economic and employment opportunities, access to services, living conditions and quality of life.
Building on previous work by Eurofound, this report will investigate intergenerational dynamics over time. During the 2008 double-dip recession, worrying intergenerational divides appeared in many Member States, and while some of the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is universal, early data suggests disparities across demographic cohorts. Eurofound will examine how different age groups may have been affected in terms of their health, labour market participation, quality of life and financial needs, both in the short term and in the long term.
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 COVID-19 pandemic triggered an extraordinary level of provision of social services across the EU. Healthcare and care providers carried much of the burden and, together with essential services, played a crucial role in getting citizens through the crisis. This report explores how public services adapted to the new reality and what role was played by the digital transformation of services. The aim is to contribute to the documentation and analysis of changes in funding, delivery and use of healthcare and social services during the pandemic.
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.