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On 9 April 1997, the airline company Deutsche Lufthansa AG, the Union for
Public Services, Transport and Communication (Gewerkschaft Öffentliche
Dienste, Transport und Verkehr, ÖTV) and the German Salaried Employees'
Union (Deutsche Angestelltengewerkschaft, DAG) concluded a package deal,
which ended months of industrial action. The DAG agreed to be covered by the
Lufthansa-ÖTV collective agreements signed in October 1996. Furthermore, the
deal provides for an increase in the profit-sharing bonus of DEM 100 and an
overtime pay rise for cockpit employees. From September 1997, the trade
unions have the right to terminate the wage agreements in the event that
Lufthansa does not keep special rules which were jointly established. In
addition, Lufthansa, the ÖTV and the DAG agreed on the continuation of the
existing collective agreement which maintains the status quo for cabin crew,
as well as the existing general agreement on pay grades for ground staff, for
another three years.
In March 1997, the social partners in Italy's leather and suede sector agreed
a code of conduct providing for the application of International Labour
Organisation (ILO) Conventions on the rights of workers and the employment of
On 15 April 1997, the Almega Industrial and Chemical Association and the
Industrial Union concluded a new collective agreement on wages and general
terms and conditions of employment for blue-collar workers in the
pharmaceutical, rubber, plastic and paint industries. It runs from 1 June
1997 to 30 April 1998.
In a recent report (/Social Europe/ 4/96, published in March/April 1997), the
European Commission assesses the progress towards the achievement of the
goals of the medium-term social action programme covering the period between
1995-7. This social action programme, adopted in April 1995, is seen by the
Commission as marking a breakthrough for new ideas and policies. The basic
concept underlying the programme is that social policy is a productive factor
facilitating change and progress, rather than a burden on the economy or an
obstacle to growth.
Just one week after the German social partners and Government found a
compromise on the future development of the German mining industry
(DE9703104F ) the Ruhr region (one of Germany's oldest industrial areas)
was again the focus of social conflict. On 18 March 1997 the second-largest
German steel producer, Krupp-Hoesch, announced plans for a hostile takeover
of its main competitor, Thyssen. Krupp-Hoesch made an offer to the Thyssen
shareholders to buy their shares for DEM 435 each, which was about 25% higher
than the current quotation on the German stock exchange. The president of
Krupp-Hoesch, Gerhard Cromme, stated that the acquisition of Thyssen would
create a lot of synergy effects, and could help to improve the international
competitiveness of the German steel industry.
Currently the minimum wage in the tourism sector is ATS 54 net per hour. The
Hotel, Restaurant, Personal Services Workers (Gewerkschaft Hotel,
Gastgewerbe, Persönlicher Dienst,HGPD) is seeking an increase of the minimum
gross monthly full-time wage from ATS 11,440 to ATS 12,000 (payable 14 times
per year). This is a nominal increase of 4.9%. With current inflation
projections running at 1.9%, a real pay increase of 3.0% would result. The
minimum net monthly income would be increased by ATS 378.40 from ATS 9,358 to
ATS 9,736.40, a nominal increase of 4.0%. On the basis of 173 hours per
month, the net hourly rate would increase by ATS 2.18 from the current ATS
In April 1997, the Confindustria employers' confederation organised a
"virtual demonstration "of around 14,000 employers against a government
exercise to raise public revenue and reduce spending by a total of ITL 15,500
billion, deemed necessary to keep Italy's 1997 budget within the parameters
set by the Maastricht Treaty on European Union.
A separate agreement for white-collar employees in the Luxembourg iron and
steel was concluded in March 1997, despite efforts in negotiations to create
a single agreement for both white- and blue-collar staff.
The principal collective agreement in the Dutch information technology and
office equipment sector, concluded in April 1997 between the employers'
organisation and one of the trade unions, has been criticised by the other
unions and four large software and service companies
Speaking at the Institute of European Affairs in Dublin, Padraig Flynn, the
commissioner for employment, industrial relations and social affairs,
outlined his priorities for the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) and
provided the audience with an update of the continuing negotiations leading
up the Amsterdam summit in June (EU9704117F ).