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

13879 items found
  • First annual report on equal opportunities published

    The European Commission adopted its first annual report on equal opportunities between men and women in the European Union at its meeting on 5 March 1997. The report: outlines the embodiment of equality principles in European Union policies; examines gender differences in the EU labour market; looks at Community actions to improve the interaction between work and family life; explores initiatives to aimed at achieving a greater involvement of women in decision-making bodies; outlines initiatives aimed a enabling women to exercise their rights; and provides an update on the recommendations of the 1995 Beijing Conference. Commenting on the publication of the report, commissioner for social affairs Padraig Flynn said that this was the first in what will be a series of annual reports covering the Union's policies on equal opportunities as a whole. Commissioner Flynn stated that the aim of the report was to give visible expression to EU policies on equal opportunities between men and women, to encourage debate on the progress achieved and policies to develop, and to act as a reference point for the Commission, member states and countries applying for membership of the Union.
  • Proposal for reform of the welfare state

    On 5 March 1997, the Italian Prime Minister, Romano Prodi, informed the political parties and social partners about the report drawn up by the "Commission for macroeconomic compatibility of social expenditure", a committee of experts established by the Government and chaired by Professor Paolo Onofri. The proposals for reform deal with all the key elements of public spending: healthcare, public assistance, and, of particular interest for the industrial relations system, pensions and labour market policies. This document drew critical reactions from the trade union confederations, while the evaluation from the Confindustria employers' confederation was fairly positive.
  • Employers dissatisfied with regulations on social plans

    Under the terms of the Works Constitution Act [1] (Betriebsverfassungsgesetz, §§ 111f), a procedure known as "reconcilement of interests [2]" (Interessenausgleich) aims at reconciling the positions of the employer and the workforce in case of a proposed substantial alteration of the establishment, or of bankruptcy. This involves weighing the respective interests against one another, as well as reaching an agreement on the procedure of change and the necessary human resource planning. Detailed arrangements for the subsequent implementation of the changes are then subject to the co-determination rights of the works council [3]. In cases where the employer makes no attempt to arrive at an agreed reconcilement of interests, or without compelling reasons fails to abide by one, employees who are dismissed or suffer economic disadvantage as a result may claim compensation for the loss of their job. A social plan [4] (Sozialplan) is a programme drawn up in the form of a special works agreement [5] (Betriebsvereinbarung) between the employer and the works council, and resembles a special form of redundancy programme. It contains the compensation packages and the human resource policies available to the employees affected by the changes. There is no obligation to draw up a social plan, provided that: the proposed alteration to the establishment consists solely of dismissals; certain maximum limits in terms of a percentage of the total workforce are not exceeded; or the case involves a newly formed enterprise. [1] www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/efemiredictionary/works-constitution-0 [2] www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/efemiredictionary/reconcilement-of-interests [3] www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/efemiredictionary/co-determination-rights-of-the-works-council [4] www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/efemiredictionary/social-plan [5] www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/efemiredictionary/works-agreement-0
  • Government seeks to regulate illegal immigration and employment

    The phenomenon of illegal immigration in Greece has taken on an ever more serious dimension. According to evidence from the Ministry of Public Order the number of foreign workers without a work permit is now around 400,000, and is expected to increase still further owing to the recent crises in Albania and Bulgaria. The main countries of origin are Albania, Poland, Bulgaria and Romania, as well as countries in Asia and Africa. However, there are also around 30,000 additional foreign nationals who originate from EU member states, and obtain a special written permit from the Ministry of Labour.
  • Commission issues Memorandum on Transfer of Undertakings

    On 5 March 1997 the European Commission issued a Memorandum on the interpretation of the 1977 Directive on business transfers (77/187/EEC) which aims to clarify certain aspects of the Directive. It also seeks to address the criticisms levied against the draft Directive to replace the 1977 text, launched by the Commission in 1994. The proposed draft sought to take into account the changed business environment following the implementation of the single market project.
  • Offshore oil workers' union affiliates to the Confederation of Vocational Unions

    The previously independent employee organisation, The Federation of Offshore Workers Trade Unions (OFS), has decided to affiliate to The Confederation of Vocational Unions (YS) from March 1997.
  • Reforms agreed to "Maribel" system of social security subsidies

    Intervention from the European Commission has compelled the Belgian Government to amend its procedures for reducing social security costs (the Maribel system) and to extend them across-the-board to all sectors of the economy.
  • Employer and union leaders in commerce urge a three year "stabilisation pact"

    On 13 March 1997, the readers of Sweden's leading morning paper /Dagens Nyheter/ learnt about an unusual appeal, drawn up jointly by the pugnacious chair of Handelsanställdas förbund (Commercial Employees' Union), the leaders of the two employers' organisations in commerce and the managing directors of three leading retail chains.
  • New single-status deal for council workers

    On 10 March, after 11 hours of talks, a "historic deal" was reached for public sector council workers. The agreement, covering 1.5 million workers, will harmonise conditions for manual worker s and white collar worker s in local government for the first time.
  • New rules on part-time work in the civil service

    On 18 March, the Government submitted a reform package to Parliament addressing five civil service issues, among them the implementation of EC Directive on working time (93/104/EC) in the civil service and more flexible working time rules. Here we focus on the latter point. The new regulations are expected to be voted on by Parliament in time to take effect on 1 June 1997.

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