An Intergovernmental Conference is the method used by the Member States of
the European Union (EU) to agree on basic changes to the Treaties which
govern the workings of the Union. Changes to the Treaties are not carried out
within the framework of the EU itself, but by direct negotiations between the
governments of the Member States within the context of the IGC. The current
IGC is the sixth in the history of European integration.
As part of the European Year against Racism, a collective agreement signed in
the temporary work sector in Belgium has laid down a "Code of Best Practice"
on the prevention of racial discrimination against foreign temporary workers.
We review the agreement, signed in May 1996, and its background.
In France, regulation of the working week is based on a piece of legislation
passed in 1936, which laid down a work schedule spread over five days.
Decrees on the application of this law made special provision, in each
sector, for the way in which these hours would be organised. The one
concerning banking dates from 1937.
The incidence of collective bargaining across a variety of sectors in
Portugal has tended slightly to decrease in the first quarter of 1997.
However, at the same time, the number of strikes has been increasing - often
to enforce reductions in working time
According to the report /Reported industrial injuries in the building and
construction sector, 1993-1995/, from the Labour Inspectorate, the sector
experienced a 22% increase in industrial accidents over the course of
1993-1995. The general increase in industrial accidents in the period was
11%. Whereas approximately 5% of the workforce are employed in the building
and construction sector, this sector reported 8% of all industrial accidents.
Every month one fatal and 50 serious accidents occur in the sector, and 84
fatal accidents took place at all Danish workplaces in 1995. The increased
number of accidents in the building and construction sector, according to the
Labour Inspectorate, can largely be explained by the sector's 9% job-growth
and the improved reporting of industrial accidents.
The principal collective agreement in the Dutch information technology and
office equipment sector, concluded in April 1997 between the employers'
organisation and one of the trade unions, has been criticised by the other
unions and four large software and service companies
Taking into account significant changes in the international environment and
their impact on the Greek economy, the Government in March 1997 announced
that it would invite the social partners to a process of social dialogue on a
set of three themes: development, competitiveness and employment. The first
meeting is scheduled to take place towards the end of May. Participants in
the dialogue include representatives of Ministries, employer and employee
organisations from both the private and the public sectors and the Chambers
of Commerce, amongst others.
Ireland's largest trade union, the Services Industrial Professional and
Technical Union (SIPTU), has a new president after a closer than expected
ballot of its 180,000 members. The tight result - announced in early April
1997 - surprised the union's leadership, given the fact that a left-wing
activist polled almost 42% of the votes cast compared with the 56% who voted
for former vice-president, Jimmy Somers.
The /Seymour-Smith/ case has raised the issue of the legality of the two-year
qualifying period of employment before employees may bring a claim for unfair
dismissal. The /Observer/ in April reported that many employees are having
their employment contracts terminated only days before completing the
two-year period which is necessary to gain employment protection. At present,
full-time employees must have accumulated two years' continuous service,
while for employees who work between eight and 16 hours per week, the
qualifying period is five years.
In the wake of Renault's announcement of the closure of its plant at
Vilvoorde (EU9703108F ) European trade unions, the European Commission and
the European Parliament have called for tougher measures to protect the
interests of employees in the event of large-scale redundancies, business
transfers and relocation. In an address to the European Parliament (EP) in
March, Padraig Flynn, the commissioner responsible for industrial relations,
employment and social affairs, reminded member state governments that they
had rejected such tougher measures in 1992. While he argued that existing
legislation covered the situation at Renault, there had to be a serious
question mark over the deterrent effect of the level of sanctions currently
available. He told MEP s that he would "propose to the Commission that we
proceed in the coming weeks with the first stage of consultations with the
social partners at European level on this issue and I sincerely hope that we
are able, through this action, the strengthen the protection of workers"
(reported in RAPID, 11 March). He also pronounced himself in favour of the
institution of general rules to complement existing measures, aimed at making
information and consultation compulsory at member state level.
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.