On 30 April 2003, the centre-right coalition government published a
parliamentary white paper on family policy, in which it recommends changes to
the present regulations on parental leave (St Meld. nr 29 (2002-3) ). The
main objective of the government’s proposals is to encourage men to spend
more time at home with their children. To this end, it proposes to extend the
so-called 'father quota', which is the part of the parental leave period
reserved for the father. It also proposes to improve the compensation level
for self-employed women during parental leave .
From 1 July 2003, the Labour Code of the Republic of Hungary was amended by
Act XX of 2003. The modifications include the transposition of five European
Union Directives on: working time (2000/34/EC ); fixed-term work
(1999/70/EC ); part-time work (1997/81/EC ); transfers of undertakings
(2001/23/EC ); and the working time of seafarers (1999/63/EC ).
Since the coalition government of the conservative People’s Party
(Österreichische Volkspartei, ÖVP) and the populist Freedom Party
(Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, FPÖ) took office for the first time in
February 2000 (it started a second term in February 2003), it has launched
several initiatives to restructure the state-owned Austrian Federal Railways
(Österreichische Bundesbahnen, ÖBB). The government’s aim has been to
reduce the financial burden on the state arising from its legal obligation to
compensate for ÖBB’s deficits. However, so far the two governing parties
have not managed to reach a joint agreement on how to reorganise this public
company. Recent ÖVP plans (presented in January 2003) to transform ÖBB into
a holding company, heading several independently-operating enterprises
specialising in sales, infrastructure, financing, personnel management etc,
were strongly opposed by the Union of Railway Employees (Gewerkschaft der
Eisenbahner, GdE) (AT0302201N ). The union argues that splitting up ÖBB
would pave the way for the privatisation and sell-off of the company’s
divisions one by one. With GdE threatening industrial action in the event of
ÖBB being dismantled (AT0211201N ), restructuring measures such as those
planned by ÖVP and – in principle – supported by the management have
hitherto been blocked.
On 13 August 2003, the police raided the Fredericia shipyard and seven
illegal workers – five Polish and two Philippine nationals – were
arrested. This action was the result of several months’ investigation based
on information from an alleged organiser of a network of illegal workers. The
raid followed a tip-off from the local branch of the General Workers’ Union
(Specialarbejderforbundet i Danmark, SiD) which had discovered that illegal
workers employed by a subcontractor were to work on the surface treatment of
a ship. The illegal workers at Fredericia were paid around DKK 45 per hour,
irrespective of the time of the day and the day of the week when they were
working. This is about one-third of the wage paid to Danish workers under the
relevant collective agreements.
On 27 May 2003, representatives of all trade unions affiliated to the the
Confederation of German Trade Unions (Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund, DGB)
signed a package ofnational cross-sector collective agreements  for
temporary agency workers with the Federal Association of Temporary Employment
Agencies (Bundesverband Zeitarbeit Personal-Dienstleistungen, BZA), whose
members include some of the major companies in the sector. Thepackage 
consists of a general framework collective agreement on employment conditions
(Manteltarifvertrag) - the final version of which was signed on 11 June 2003
- a framework collective agreement on pay grades (Entgeltrahmentarifvertrag)
and a collective agreement on pay (Entgelttarifvertrag). Two days later, on
29 May 2003, a similarpackage  of collective agreements was agreed by the
DGB affiliates and a second employers' association, the Association of German
Temporary Employment Agencies (Interessengemeinschaft Deutscher
Zeitarbeitsunternehmen, iGZ), representing a number of small and medium-sized
July 2003 saw a wave of protests by trade unions represented at Polish
National Railways (PKP) against the planned closure of loss-making local
services. Faced with the unions' threat of a general rail strike, PKP
management and the government agreed to cut the number of services to be
axed. However, the continuing restructuring of PKP, which is facing major
financial difficulties, suggests that further unrest cannot be ruled out.
A study published jointly in June 2003 by the Research Institute for the
Finnish Economy (Elinkeinoelämän tutkimuslaitos, ETLA) and the Labour
Institute for Economic Research (Palkansaajien tutkimuslaitos) examines views
on the Finnish wage bargaining system. The study, based on a questionnaire
survey, asked employers and three categories of employees - blue-collar
workers, white-collar workers and higher-level workers - about their views on
the present system and its future development. The same questions were also
put to private and public sector social partner organisations. The questions
dealt with issues including local bargaining, profit-sharing, taxation and
social security. The firms concerned were examined in terms of 12 variables,
including size, sector, ownership, international activities, workforce age
structure and share of women and temporary employees in the workforce.
The total number of women in employment (employees and self-employed)
increased by more than 1.7 million in the period from 1995 to 2002, according
to a study providing an overview of major labour market trends for the whole
of Germany since unification in 1990, published by the German Federal
Statistical Office (Statistisches Bundesamt Deutschland, Destatis) in July
2003 (German labour market trends. In the spotlight , Destatis, 2003). At
the same time, the share of women in overall employment has been growing
constantly since the mid-1990s. The report argues that these increases
reflect a general trend towards a decreasing gap between men and women in the
German labour market, although the total female employment rate has not yet
reached the male level. However, data from the 2002 EU Labour Force Survey
indicate that regional discrepancies still prevail: in the western part of
the country, about 46% of women aged between 15 and 65 were in employment (ie
either self-employed or an employee), compared with 61% of men; while in the
east of Germany, this difference was less pronounced with some 44% of the
female population and 53% of the male population in employment.
Following the election of the Labour Party government in May 1997, the new
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, signaled a clear shift in UK
policy towards the European single currency in a major speech to Parliament
in October 1997. Whereas the previous, 'eurosceptic' Conservative Party
government had negotiated an 'opt-out' from the final stage of European
Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) as part of the Treaty on European Union, Mr
Brown indicated that the Labour government was committed to the principle of
joining the European single currency, but that there had been insufficient
convergence between the economies of the UK and those of prospective members
of the euro area (UK9802102F ). Thereafter, the main features of the
government’s policy towards EMU were that:
In July 2003, a large-scale strike occurred at the Belgian Post Office,
triggered by the implementation of a new system for organising delivery
rounds, which is one of 10 measures being introduced by management in the
context of the EU-wide liberalisation of the postal sector. At the end of the
month, trade unions and management concluded a pre-agreement that halted
industrial action until mid-September, when the outcome of further
negotiations will be known.
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.
Automation and digitisation technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), are undergoing a rapid evolution. This impacts working conditions in a variety of ways and raises a host of new ethical concerns. In recent times, the policy debate surrounding these concerns has become more prominent and has increasingly focused on AI. Key EU policy developments, especially in relation to AI, have shaped the policy debate in many EU Member States, and in some instances they have led to the adoption of new policy initiatives that address these concerns in the context of work and employment.
Every year, Eurofound compiles a report summarising the key developments in minimum wages across EU countries. The report explains how minimum wages are set and describes the role of social partners, covering the evolution of statutory rates, collectively agreed wages and the national debates on these issues.
As part of a process to collect information on essential services, the European Commission (DG EMPL) requested Eurofound to provide input on certain aspects of existing and planned measures in the Member States to improve access to essential services, in reference to Principle 20 of the European Pillar of Social Rights. The scope of the exercise included energy services, public transport and digital communications, and the focus was on people at risk of poverty or social exclusion (in practice, people on low incomes in most cases).
The civil aviation sector has been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is one of the most severe crises the sector has ever experienced, giving rise to a number of significant challenges for companies and workers alike. This study will explore the role of social dialogue and collective bargaining in how the sector is adapting to the pandemic. What kinds of changes have been introduced, either through social dialogue or collective bargaining? Are the changes temporary or permanent?
This report investigates the practical implementation of the European Works Council (EWC) Directive at company level. It explores the challenges faced by existing EWCs and provides examples of identified solutions and remaining issues from the point of view of both workers and management. The report looks at the way that EWCs meet the requirements of the EWC Directive in terms of establishing processes of information and consultation.
This report will map the existing regulations on telework in European Union Member States, including in legislation and collective agreements. It will present the most recent changes to these regulations and shed light on how the future of (tele)work could be regulated at both national and EU level, in order to improve working conditions in telework arrangements and reduce the risks associated with telework and with specific ways of working remotely.
This report explores the association between skills use and skills strategies and establishment performance, and how other workplace practices, in terms of work organisation, human resources management and employee involvement, can impact on this. It looks at how skills shortages can be addressed, at least in part, by creating an environment in which employees are facilitated and motivated to make better use of the skills they already have. This further supports the business case for a more holistic approach to management.
The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have varied across sectors, occupations and categories of worker (for instance, according to gender, age or employment status). Hours worked have declined the most in sectors such as accommodation services and food and beverage services, and in occupations heavily reliant on in-person interaction, such as sales work. At the same time, it’s in these sectors that labour shortages have become increasingly evident as labour markets have begun to normalise.
This report focuses on trends and developments in collective bargaining that were evident from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. It examines potential new strategic approaches and priorities incorporated in negotiation agendas, as well as collective bargaining practices and coordination at sector and company levels in the private sector.
This policy brief will provide an update on upward convergence in the economic, social and institutional dimensions of the European Union, as outlined in the European Pillar of Social Rights and its accompanying Social Scoreboard.