Communiqué February 2005

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Research in brief:

What route for Europe’s road transport sector?

Reduced economic growth, together with increased environmental concerns and growing traffic congestion, are three major factors that could devastate Europe’s transport sector. The volatile price of oil is regarded by many as the major factor restricting economic growth of the sector, but environmental concerns could also halt major infrastructure projects, necessary to enable the growth in the ‘business as usual’ scenario. Most important of all, perhaps, has been the failure to establish a European transport market, despite efforts during past decades.

More information on the EMCC website

News in brief:

Outsourcing of Europe’s business-related services sector

Globalisation and increased competitiveness, improved information and communication technologies, and the around-the-clock-business model are all factors forcing the business-related services sector to outsource parts of their operations. However, little is known about the effects outsourcing will have on job creation and employment across the EU. On 17-18 March 2005, participants at an EMCC Company Network Seminar in Tallinn, Estonia, will address whether offshoring is contributing to further competitiveness and business growth, or if it is characterised by low labour costs and poor working conditions.

Increased number of web users

User sessions are on the increase for all of the Foundation’s websites. Some 150,000 user sessions are regularly recorded for Eurofound each month, and the number of user sessions for the specialist portal of the European Industrial Relations Observatory (EIRO) also continue to rise. Some 200,000 sessions were recorded for EIRO in January 2005, an increase of 30% from October 2003. The number of user sessions for the European Monitoring Centre on Change (EMCC) is now in excess of 25,000 per month, and the European Working Conditions Observatory (EWCO) has some 20,000 user sessions per month.

Gender mainstreaming in industrial relations

Although most countries have introduced measures to promote equality, the latest survey from the Foundation’s European Industrial Relations Observatory (EIRO) found that only 11 out of 18 countries have processes in place that require social partners to enact them or empower them to do so. The study found that gender mainstreaming is primarily a matter for government regulation and policies, and that not many connections are made between the governmental regulatory/institutional framework and collective bargaining. The latest EIRO comparative study analyses the state of gender mainstreaming in industrial relations in 17 of the 25 EU Member States and in Norway.

European survey on working time

How is the EU working time directive put into practice by Europe’s small- and medium-sized enterprises and public authorities? This is a question that will be answered in the Foundation’s European survey on working time, which looks at how European companies and public sector enterprises with more than 10 employees, make use of full- and part-time work, overtime, flexi-time, shift work, phased and early retirement and childcare leave arrangements. The survey covering some 20,000 companies in the former EU15 countries has been completed and is about to be expanded to the 10 new EU Member States. The initial results of the complete survey will be made available towards the end of the year.

Increase in staff in 2005

The Foundation intends to increase its workforce with eight new staff during 2005. This will include support administrative roles, research managers, head of information and communication technologies, and a customer relations manager. The process of recruiting a new Director is also underway, and it is hoped that this post will be filled by the second half of 2005.

For vacancies at the Foundation visit:

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