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
  • A National Minimum Wage: Who, what and why?

    Until recent years, largely due to the voluntary system of industrial relations in the UK, a universal national minimum wage has never been more than a passing thought. Instead, because of the growing awareness of poor working conditions and low wages, trade boards were established in 1909 in certain "sweated trades" to set minimum wages and standards. The areas and industries under the boards' coverage began to widen, so that by the time they became known as Wages Councils (WCs) in 1945 they covered some 4.5 million workers. But from the 1960s, the WCs came under increasing criticism for three main reasons:
  • New collective agreement for hospitals

    At the end of February 1997, the social partners in Luxembourg's hospital sector concluded a new collective agreement in a "cooperative" atmosphere. The deal provides for pay increases and a reduction and reorganisation of working hours for 5,000 employees.
  • Unions oppose privatisation of Telefónica

    At the beginning of 1997, the total privatisation of Telefónica, the largest Spanish telecommunications firm, was completed. The trade unions in the company, led by CCOO and UGT, have applied for a judicial review of this measure, demanding its suspension until the new regulatory framework for the sector is defined, and a public, universal and quality service is guaranteed in the area of telecommunications. The Supreme Court has agreed to consider the appeal but has not suspended the privatisation.
  • Joint union membership for German and UK workers

    On 3 March 1997 the UK's second largest general trade union, GMB, and the German chemical workers' union IG Chemie-Papier-Keramik signed a unique agreement on joint union membership. The agreement offers members of both organisations, when working in each other's countries, the same support and advice enjoyed by their own members.
  • Civil service strike

    Following a strike call issued by French public service trade unions, a national day of action comprising strikes and demonstrations took place on 6 March.
  • UGT assesses collective bargaining in 1996

    According to the UGT trade union confederation, during the 1996 collective bargaining round pay increases were generally settled in line with the Social Concertation Agreement for that year.
  • Positive experience with working time flexibility at Akzo Nobel

    In accordance with its 1995 collective agreement, Akzo Nobel has evaluated the effects of "working time differentiation" and more flexible working hours on employment. Since the effects appear positive, a 36-hour week is expected to be introduced by 1 July 1997.
  • Union recognition still an issue

    Declining union membership and a legal and ideological attack on the role of trade unions over the past 17 years may have left many with the opinion that employees no longer value the right to act collectively. It has been argued that the attack on the unions throughout the 1980s and 1990s has left the unions weak and unable to protect members' rights. Alternatively, it has been argued that people now prefer to negotiate their own employment contracts individually and do not need trade unions.
  • Training or work experience for unskilled young people

    Unskilled young people aged between 20 and 24 must undertake training or work experience programmes in order to maintain their right to receive unemployment benefit, according to a recent amendment to the Act on Labour Market Support.
  • New agreement improves working conditions in temporary employment agencies

    On 31 January 1997, the Second National Agreement on Temporary Employment Agencies was signed. This is the second agreement reached in this sector since the activity of temporary employment agencies (TEAs) in Spain was approved in 1994. It will remain in force until 31 December 1999.

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