The first annual review of the social dialogue process at the European Union
level was adopted by the Commission on 6 May 1997. The review characterises
1996 as "a particularly fruitful and productive year" for the social dialogue
at European level. Despite this overall positive assessment, the review
highlights the fact that, despite endeavours towards the establishment of a
dialogue between the social partners, and in some cases, negotiation, this
represents only the background of a European-scale industrial relations
systems which is yet to take shape.
The first of the two recently-announced mergers, which is to take effect from
1 July 1997, is between the National and Provincial Building Society Staff
Association (NAPSA) and the Banking, Insurance and Finance Union (BIFU). The
National and Provincial Building Society was recently taken over by the Abbey
National, but NAPSA members voted to become part of BIFU rather than the
Abbey National's own staff association. Despite the strong support for BIFU
from NAPSA members, the company has refused to recognise the union. BIFU said
that "in the merger and conversion mania which is sweeping this country there
is little regard for the impact on staff. They are the casualties - that's
why it is important for unions to work together". BIFU, which has 115,000
members, hope that this will be the first of many mergers which will ensure
it a stronger role in the financial sector.
On 7 May 1997, a preliminary agreement (which requires ratification) was
signed for the renewal of the Italian national railworkers' contract. The new
contract, which comes into effect from January 1997 and will expire on 31
December 1999, deals with company recovery plans and pay.
Employment yielding less than ATS 3,740 gross per month or less than ATS 859
per week or ATS 288 per day, is defined as "minor". Below this threshold,
neither employee nor employer has to contribute to the national pension or
health or unemployment insurance. Only national accident insurance has to be
paid. Minor employment therefore does not earn an entitlement to unemployment
benefits, maternity benefits, a pension, or medical coverage. On the other
hand, because of the lower cost, minor employment may be an incentive for
employers to hire.
The publication of an assessment commissioned by the National Assembly's
Finance Commission, and the campaign for the May/June 1997 general election,
have reopened the debate in France on the content and efficiency of the
Robien law, which seeks to encourage working time reductions and
reorganisation to create or save jobs. Politicians, economists, employers and
unions remain divided whilst the number of collective agreements at company
level based on the law is increasing.
Non-wage labour costs are those categories of the enterprise's total labour
costs comprising other than direct compensation. Today, non-wage labour costs
account for a very substantial and rising proportion of total labour costs.
Since increasing labour costs tend to encourage substitution away from labour
to more capital-intensive methods of production, rising non-wage labour costs
are an impediment to job creation. Furthermore, some non-wage labour costs -
such as social security contributions - drive a wedge between the labour
costs that companies pay and the money that workers receive, thus making
collective bargaining more difficult. Via unit labour costs - nominal labour
costs divided by real value added - non-wage labour costs are likely to have
some effect on companies' location decisions.
A frequently repeated statement in discussion on industrial relations is that
temporary employment will be much more common in the future. This assumption
is refuted in a recent report from the National Labour Market Board
An agreement on resolving labour disputes out of court was signed in January
1996 by Spain's largest unions (UGT and CC.OO) and employers' associations
(CEOE and CEPYME), covering the period until 31 December 2000. The agreement
built on the experience in mediation and arbitration at a regional level that
had grown on the basis of joint quasi-judicial institutions formed in the
1990s. We review the complex system which now applies in this area.
The findings of a Eurostat study entitled /Statistics in focus: income
distribution and poverty in the EU 12 - 1993/, published on 14 May 1997, show
that one out of six citizens and households in the 12 pre-1995 EU member
states live below the "poverty threshold". In more than half of these
countries, the figure was even higher - one in five. Even more alarmingly,
over one-third of poor households were working. These findings are drawn from
the first wave of statistics generated from the European Community Household
Panel (ECHP). The ECHP consists of a sample of 60,500 households selected
randomly in the 12 member states, using a harmonised questionnaire. This data
does not allow for a comparison of social change over time, but does provide
important information on the magnitude and dimensions of poverty and income
disparity in the European Union in the early 1990s. The figures show that
there are approximately 57 million socially excluded individuals in EU, a
problem affecting both more and less affluent member states.
The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO), the largest employee
confederation in Norway, held its four-yearly congress on 10-16 May 1997. The
most important issues were the question of continuing with the "Solidarity
Alternative", and the adoption of the Action Programme for the period
1997-2001. A discussion also took place between LO unions regarding the
confederation's policy towards the privatisation of public activities
(services), while the vice-presidency election received considerable
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.
With the expansion of telework and different forms of hybrid work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important for policymakers to consider both the opportunities and the negative consequences that may result. This report will explore potential scenarios for such work. In doing so, it will identify trends and drivers, and predict how they might interact to create particular outcomes and how they are likely to affect workers and businesses. Policy pointers will outline what could be done to facilitate desirable outcomes and to avoid undesirable ones.
The urban-rural divide in EU countries has grown in recent years, and the depopulation of certain rural areas in favour of cities is a challenge when it comes to promoting economic development and maintaining social cohesion and convergence. Using data from Eurofound and Eurostat, this report will investigate the trends and drivers of the urban-rural divide, in various dimensions: economic and employment opportunities, access to services, living conditions and quality of life.
Building on previous work by Eurofound, this report will investigate intergenerational dynamics over time. During the 2008 double-dip recession, worrying intergenerational divides appeared in many Member States, and while some of the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is universal, early data suggests disparities across demographic cohorts. Eurofound will examine how different age groups may have been affected in terms of their health, labour market participation, quality of life and financial needs, both in the short term and in the long term.
Adequate, affordable housing has become a matter of great concern, with an alarming number of Europeans with low or lower household incomes unable to access any, especially in capital cities. Housing was a key factor in people’s experience of the COVID-19 pandemic: its quality and level of safety significantly affected how lockdowns and social distancing measures were experienced, with those who had no access to quality housing at higher risk of deteriorating living conditions and well-being.
The use of artificial intelligence, advanced robotics and the Internet of Things technologies in the workplace can bring about fundamental changes in work organisation and working conditions. This report analyses the ethical and human implications of the use of these technologies at work by drawing on qualitative interviews with policy stakeholders, input from the Network of Eurofound Correspondents and Delphi expert surveys, and case studies.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in European sectoral social dialogue taking place at cross-sectoral level. Their relative representativeness legitimises their right to be consulted, their role and effective participation in the European sectoral social dialogue and their capacity to negotiate agreements. The aim of this Eurofound’s study on representativeness is to identify the relevant national and European social partner organisations at cross-sectoral level in the EU Member States.