A large-scale strike which began in early May 2003 more or less paralysed the
Faroe Islands. Ships bringing goods and food from Denmark were not unloaded
and supplies in shops began to run out. Petrol stations did not receive
supplies of petrol and the oil tanks in houses were not refilled. Schools and
kindergartens were closed down due to lack of cleaning. Furthermore, all
Faroese fish markets and fish processing companies were hit hard by the
strike. Overall, about 30% of the working population stopped working due to
On 28 May 2003, the largest German business daily, Handelsblatt ,
published evidence that appears to suggest that the German federal government
(Bundesregierung) 'massaged' policy recommendations in the economic survey of
Germany  (DE0302106F ) published by the Organisation for Economic
Cooperation and Development (OECD) in December 2002. The OECD is an
international organisation with the stated aim of helping governments to
tackle current economic, social and governance challenges.
In the first half of 2003, sectoral collective bargaining has been proceeding
in Belgium within the framework of the intersectoral agreement for 2003-4.
The agreements concluded by June indicate that the economic slowdown is
having a major impact on employees' purchasing power, though there have been
advances in areas such as employment, training, the status of blue-collar
workers and end-of-career arrangements. Bargaining remains difficult in a
number of large sectors.
In May 2003, Spain's UGT trade union confederation highlighted the unequal
situation of women and men in employment, and notably a gender pay gap of
around 30%. Women are also, it is claimed, subject to occupational
segregation, higher unemployment and less stable employment.
At the end of April 2003, the Work Environment Authority (Arbetsmiljöverket)
presented its annual statistics for 2002. It highlighted the positive
development of the figures on fatal accidents at work, which are now much
lower than previously. During 2002, 45 employees were killed by accidents at
work (43 of whom were men), compared with 46 in 2001 (41 men, five women). Of
the fatal accidents in 2002, 13 occurred in the transport sector, 12 in the
building sector and eight in manufacturing industry. There are about 4.2
million employees in Sweden. Looking at the cause of the fatal accidents in
2002, 19 employees were killed in vehicle (cars, trucks etc) accidents, nine
died in 'fall' accidents (eg falling from scaffolding), nine died after being
struck by objects, six died in machinery accidents, one was killed in a
robbery and one by an explosion.
Since the coalition government of the conservative People’s Party
(Österreichische Volkspartei, ÖVP) and the populist Freedom Party
(Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, FPÖ) resumed office in February 2003,
Austria’s public debate has been dominated by the government’s plans for
a fundamental reform of the public pensions system. This reform is designed
to reduce considerably future expenditure on pension benefits, especially for
(younger) employees in the private sector (AT0305201N ).
In February 2002, the Vice Prime Minister, Gianfranco Fini, and the three
main trade union confederations - the General Confederation of Italian
Workers (Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro, Cgil), the Italian
Confederation of Workers’ Unions (Confederazione Italiana Sindacato
Lavatori, Cisl) and the Union of Italian Workers (Unione Italiana del Lavoro,
Uil) - signed a general framework agreement on the forthcoming renewal of
national collective agreements for public sector workers. It included average
wage increases of 5.56% for 2002-3, a higher percentage than the government's
predicted inflation rate (IT0203102N ).
An innovative agreement was signed in May 2003 at the SEAT motor
manufacturing plant in Martorell, Spain, providing for long-term flexibility
of working time to deal with reduced production between June 2003 and March
2004, thus preventing redundancies. Reduced working time over this period
will be recovered in 2004 when production increases.
In May 2003, elections to Rsu trade union representation bodies were held at
Fiat's largest plant in Italy, the Mirafioiri site in Turin. Fiom-Cgil won
the largest share of the vote, while Fim-Cisl came second (and first in the
plant's important bodywork department).
The draft Statute for a European Cooperative Society seeks to provide
cooperatives with the same opportunities for European-level operation as
provided by the European Company Statute (ECS) for private limited companies.
Like the ECS, it consists of a draft Regulation covering the company law
aspects of the European Cooperative Society and an accompanying draft
Directive on worker involvement arrangements. Originally proposed in 1992,
the European Cooperative Society reached the same deadlock as affected the
ECS for many years. However, following the progress made on the ECS - adopted
as Regulation (No. 2157/2001)  and Directive (2001/86/EC)  on worker
involvement in October 2001 (EU0206202F ) - the European Cooperative
Society texts were revived by the Swedish Presidency of the Council in 2001,
using the ECS texts as a broad basis (EU0106220F ).
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, conducted in three rounds – in April and July 2020 and in March 2021. This is complemented by the inclusion of research into the ongoing effects of the pandemic in much of Eurofound’s other areas of work.
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.
Eurofound's representativness 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 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.
The European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) is carried out every four to five years since its inception in 2003, with the latest edition in 2016. It examines both the objective circumstances of people's lives and how they feel about those circumstances and their lives in general. It covers issues around employment, income, education, housing, family, health and work–life balance. It also looks at subjective topics, such as people's levels of happiness and life satisfaction, and perceptions of the quality of society.
While the EU is considered to be a global leader in gender equality, it is not yet a reality for millions of Europeans given the different dynamics in the Member States. The EU Gender Equality Strategy 2020–2025 acknowledges the slow speed of progress and outlines key actions to promote gender equality. Have all countries improved their performance? Which countries have been able to dramatically reduce gender inequality? Which countries lag behind?
As part of an annual series on minimum wages, this report summarises the key developments during 2020 and early 2021 with an emphasis on social partners’ roles and views. It looks at how minimum wages were set in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and how minimum wages act as a reference for income support measures. Information from interviews with decision-makers on the process of setting the minimum wage in 2020, along with their assessment of impacts of the proposed EU Directive on adequate minimum wages is also included.
This joint publication with the European Environment Agency (EEA) presents the findings from complementary research carried out simultaneously by both agencies on the socioeconomic impacts of climate policies and measures. While Eurofound focuses particularly on the distributional effects of these policies based on the experiences of Member States, the EEA analyses scientific research about the monetary and non-monetary social impacts of climate mitigation policies and its outcome in terms of inequalities.
The European Green Deal features high on Member State agendas. However, there are concerns that the necessary changes to climate policy may have undesirable socioeconomic consequences, such as regressive distributional effects and increased inequality. This report attempts to identify those policies where there is a significant risk involved and aims to provide guidance on how negative distributional risk can be mitigated.
Based on data from the European Company Survey 2019, this policy brief examines the characteristics of innovative companies and explores the types of workplace practices that are significantly associated with establishments' likelihood of introducing innovation. It also investigates differences between workplace practices of innovative and non-innovative companies. Additionally, data gathered through case studies analyse the role of workplace practices in different phases of the innovation process.
This report investigates the convergence of Member States in various dimensions of living conditions. Indicators are drawn from the European Quality of Life Surveys and other surveys. The analysis pays special attention to particular subgroups such as young people and women. The analysis also investigates the key drivers of convergence in living conditions.
Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, a high demand for labour and low unemployment levels made labour shortages one of the key policy concerns in the EU. Even where there is persistent and rising unemployment, individual countries, sectors and occupations are experiencing labour shortages, which in some instances have been accentuated by COVID-19. This report explores various approaches to measuring labour shortages and maps national policy debates around the issue.
As the EU embarks on the transition to a climate-neutral economy, it is crucial to understand the impact of such a transition on production models, employment, work organisation, working conditions, social dialogue and citizens’ lives and living conditions.
The issue of regional convergence and whether disadvantaged regions are catching up with wealthier regions continues to attract enormous attention in the policy debate. This report presents the findings of an investigation into the evolution of social imbalances across EU regions over time, based on indicators including unemployment, social exclusion and poverty. It also examines various aspects of the relationship between growth, regional disparities and interpersonal inequalities.
Digital technologies have made it possible for many workers to carry out their work anytime and anywhere, with consequent advantages and disadvantages. Disadvantages, for remote workers and teleworkers in particular, include the risk to health and well-being linked to long working hours. To address this issue, there have been calls for the ‘right to disconnect’. This report includes case studies that chart the implementation and impact of the right to disconnect at workplace level.