Eurofound News January 2007

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In brief


Geographical and labour market mobility in Europe

Mobility in EuropeDuring the 2006 European Year of Workers’ Mobility, the Foundation produced several reports and extensive analysis on geographical and labour market mobility in Europe. At the end of the year, the Foundation presented its latest findings to a group of MEPs at the European Parliament in Brussels. From left, Hubert Krieger, Foundation research manager with Willy Buschak, the Foundation’s Deputy Director, MEP Sepp Kusstatscher and Jorma Karppinen, the Foundation’s Director.


Foundation websites integrated into one site

The Foundation’s three specialised websites have been brought under the umbrella of the new look Eurofound website. The revamped site offers improved search facilities using integrated Google search technology, and improved accessibility for users with a disability. The decision to move to one single site came as a result of user testing on the main site which showed significant improvements in usability following the redesign in 2005. During 2006, the web usage of the Foundation’s corporate website Eurofound increased by 36% to 2.6 million users. This increase was in line with the increases experienced by both the European Monitoring Centre on Change (EMCC) at 28% and the European Working Conditions Observatory (EWCO) at 24%. It was, however, the European Industrial Relations Observatory (EIRO) that showed the biggest increase of 54%.

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Foundation research on European Works Councils

The primary role of European Works Councils (EWCs) across Europe is that of communication or consultation, as stipulated in the EU Directive, according to Foundation research into the functioning of EWCs over the past 12 years. Its latest work in the area involves case study research and analysis in the four new EU Member States the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. It found that many EWCs in the New Member States are ill-equipped to deal with challenges arising from growing intra-company competitiveness, relocation and restructuring, due to a weak labour relations culture.

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Role of teamwork in work organisation

Teamwork is not always a successful form of work organisation, the new study, 'Teamwork and high performance workplace organisation', from the Foundation’s European Working Conditions Observatory (EWCO) reveals. The report set out to find out to what extent teamwork influences the learning environment in an organisation, whether teamwork has developed in any significant shape or form in recent years, and whether teamwork is the key to greater autonomy and job satisfaction. The research found that working in a team often requires a higher work tempo and increased work intensity, with similar levels reported in former EU15 countries and in the new EU Member States. The report does, however, also highlight instances where teamwork has been introduced successfully, bringing greater autonomy to workers, as well as better access to training and a greater chance of learning new things.

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Demolishing the myth of the rural idyll

People in Europe’s rural areas perceive their quality of life as worse than people in urban areas, the Foundation’s latest analysis of its first European Quality of Life Survey reveals. The new report, ‘First European Quality of Life Survey: urban-rural differences’, explores the concept of quality of life from a rural–urban perspective. It found that rural peoples’ experiences and levels of satisfaction regarding quality of life components such as income, housing, employment and education, access to work, work-life balance, school, family, friends and subjective well-being, are lower than those in urban areas and is not compensated for by the mor pleasant aspects of rural life. In a wider perspective, it also found that EU policy-makers are faced with a major challenge in finding ways to promote stronger economies and quality of life in the poorer areas of rural Europe.

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