EurWORK European Observatory of Working Life

Articles

EurWORK articles cover working life in Europe, in particular the fields of industrial relations and working conditions. The articles are based on quarterly reporting provided by the Network of Eurofound Correspondents.

  • Topical updates summarise and update developments around selected topics, which are relevant across a number of Member States at the same time
  • Spotlight reports cover in more depth country-level events, debates and changes in regulation related to working life, aiming to provide a balanced view of all parties’ positions
  • Research in Focus articles report on important research findings (including surveys) from the national level, often, but not exclusively, in the area of working conditions
  • In brief articles are short news items drawn from the correspondents' quarterly reports
  • Country updates summarise developments at national level and are published 4 times a year

13883 items found
  • Companies "should justify directors' remuneration packages"

    In recent years there has been increasing public concern over what is widely viewed as the spiralling remuneration of company directors. At a time when companies are keen to promote pay schemes based on performance, too often the links between directors' pay and performance are viewed as non-existent. In a report on director's remuneration publicised in March 1997, the IOD is keen to set the record straight. It argues that, although it recognises that directors' pay in the largest companies has been on average high, it has been relatively modest for those directors who work for small to medium-sized enterprises. In fact, the median pay increase for this group of directors in 1996 was 4%, the equivalent of the increase in average earnings for all employees in that year.
  • Wage bargaining begins in the private sector

    Wage bargaining in the private sector commenced on 10 March 1997 with negotiations between the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) and theConfederation of Norwegian Business and Industry (NHO). So far the question of voluntary early retirement has been the most difficult issue and, after around one week, LO broke off the negotiations. Mediation was due to commence the first week after the Easter holidays.
  • Joint union membership for German and UK workers

    On 3 March 1997 the UK's second largest general trade union, GMB, and the German chemical workers' union IG Chemie-Papier-Keramik signed a unique agreement on joint union membership. The agreement offers members of both organisations, when working in each other's countries, the same support and advice enjoyed by their own members.
  • New collective agreement for hospitals

    At the end of February 1997, the social partners in Luxembourg's hospital sector concluded a new collective agreement in a "cooperative" atmosphere. The deal provides for pay increases and a reduction and reorganisation of working hours for 5,000 employees.
  • Unions oppose privatisation of Telefónica

    At the beginning of 1997, the total privatisation of Telefónica, the largest Spanish telecommunications firm, was completed. The trade unions in the company, led by CCOO and UGT, have applied for a judicial review of this measure, demanding its suspension until the new regulatory framework for the sector is defined, and a public, universal and quality service is guaranteed in the area of telecommunications. The Supreme Court has agreed to consider the appeal but has not suspended the privatisation.
  • The legal position of foreign nationals

    On 13 March, after long debate between ministries, trade unions, and provincial governments, the national Government submitted a reform package covering the Arbeitslosenversicherungsgesetz(Unemployment Insurance Act), the Fremdengesetz(Aliens Act), the Aufenthaltsgesetz(Residence Act), the Ausländerbeschäftigungsgesetz(Aliens Employment Act), and the Asylgesetz(Asylum Act). The aim is to homogenise the laws, to reduce immigration to an absolute minimum compatible with human rights and the Geneva Convention on the Rights of Refugees, and to improve the integration of the resident foreign population. The reform package is now open to public debate, and will be submitted to Parliament before the summer. Changes are intended to take effect as of 1 January 1998.
  • European Central Banks trade unions meet in Portugal

    A working group set up by the Standing Committee of the European Central Banks' Trade Unions met in Ferreira do Zêzere in March, and issued a declaration relating to the rights of workers involved in the production and circulation of the Euro.
  • Civil service strike

    Following a strike call issued by French public service trade unions, a national day of action comprising strikes and demonstrations took place on 6 March.
  • A National Minimum Wage: Who, what and why?

    Until recent years, largely due to the voluntary system of industrial relations in the UK, a universal national minimum wage has never been more than a passing thought. Instead, because of the growing awareness of poor working conditions and low wages, trade boards were established in 1909 in certain "sweated trades" to set minimum wages and standards. The areas and industries under the boards' coverage began to widen, so that by the time they became known as Wages Councils (WCs) in 1945 they covered some 4.5 million workers. But from the 1960s, the WCs came under increasing criticism for three main reasons:
  • Training or work experience for unskilled young people

    Unskilled young people aged between 20 and 24 must undertake training or work experience programmes in order to maintain their right to receive unemployment benefit, according to a recent amendment to the Act on Labour Market Support.

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