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

13800 items found
  • Public sector pay policies

    Three independent pay review bodies were created more than 25 years ago in what has been described as an attempt "to remove a range of highly sensitive settlements from the political arena" (P Bassett, /The Times,/ 7 February 1997). They recommended pay increases for doctors and dentists, the most senior grades in the armed forces, the civil service and the judiciary, and for the rest of the armed forces. The pay review system assumed greater importance when it was extended to cover nearly 500,000 nurses, midwives and other health service professionals in 1983 and a similar number of schoolteachers in England and Wales in 1992. In both cases, the creation of pay review bodies followed lengthy disputes and a history of repeated failure of the negotiating machinery to produce agreement on pay settlements without frequent arbitration or periodic special enquiries.
  • Italian railways brought into line with European model

    The agreement was concluded on 11 February 1997 and sets out the ways in which the financial recovery, growth and modernisation of the Italian rail system will be brought about in line with the guidelines of the 1991 Directive on the development of Community railways (440/91/EEC). The deal was signed by the Ministry of Transport, the state railways board (FS), and the following railway trade union organisations: CGIL (the General Confederation of Italian Workers); CISL (the Italian Confederation of Workers' Unions); UIL (the Union of Italian Workers); the three confederations' respective sectoral organisations - Filt-Cgil, Fit-Cisl and Uilt-Uil; and three non-confederal organisations - Fisafs-Cisal (the autonomous rail trade union), Comu (theUnited Train Drivers' Committee) and Sma ( the Train Drivers' Trade Union).
  • Strikes hit 60-year high

    Figures from the Confederation of Norwegian Business and Industry ( Næringslivets Hovedorganisasjon or NHO) show that over 530,000 working days were lost in industrial conflict during the 1996 wage negotiations. These figures cover only private sector companies which are members of NHO, but nearly all industrial conflicts in 1996 took place within this area. This is the highest number of working days lost since 1986, when Norway experienced a major lockout in the private sector. In 1996, lawful strikes accounted for all the lost working days, and the number of working days lost in strikes alone (ie, excluding lock-outs) is thus the highest since the 1930s. The major strikes all came in the private sector and among unions affiliated to the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (Landsorganisasjonen i Norge, or LO). The Government did not, as often before, intervene to stop strikes with compulsory arbitration. Three strikes accounted for the majority of lost working days. These came in the metal industry, the hotel and restaurant industry and in the electrical installation industry.
  • A "multicoloured" march for jobs: the human element first

    On Sunday 2 February 1997, a so-called "multicoloured march for jobs" drew about 50,000 people from all over Belgium to the streets of Clabecq, a small industrial town on the borders of the provinces of Brabant and Hainaut.
  • Commission report links employee financial participation and productivity

    In January 1997, the European Commission adopted a report on the Promotion of Participation by Employed Persons in Profits and Enterprise Results, including equity participation (PEPPER II). The report suggests that profit-sharing schemes lead to higher productivity, whatever method, model specification and data are used. The macroeconomic situation was found to have little effect on government or social partner support for such schemes, but recent debates relating to enhancing productivity and wage flexibility are stimulating discussions on proposals. However, in most member states, trade unions can be expected to oppose the use of financial participation schemes to promote wage flexibility.
  • Trade unions and Social Democrats agree on unemployment insurance

    One of the continuing quarrels between the Social Democrat Government and the largest trade union confederation, the Confederation of Trade Unions for Blue-Collar Workers (Landsorganisationen or LO), appears to have been settled by an agreement on the overall features of the unemployment insurance system, presented on 12 February. Formally, the Government is not involved in the settlement, but the details of the settlement were presented in a press release from the Ministry of Labour and in person by the Minister of Labour, Margareta Winberg, together with LO's vice-president, Wanja Lundby-Wedin.
  • Average minimum wage rates rise by 2.4% in 1996

    Testing 1,2,3 Minimum wages in Austria are known as "collective agreement wages" because they are set by collective bargaining rather than by law, though it is unlawful to pay less than the collective agreement wage. Because of the large number of collective agreements concluded independently of each other, substantial variations in increases in the minimum wage can arise between industries or groups of employees. It is only possible to estimate the overall change of the minimum wage rate retrospectively. The annual estimate and the detailed monthly reporting are both carried out by the Central Statistical Office (Österreichisches Statistisches Zentralamt, ÖSTAT) based on reports received from the trade unions.
  • European social partners issue joint declaration on Confidence Pact for Employment

    At a special Social Dialogue Committee meeting held on 29 November 1996, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), the Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe (UNICE), and the European Centre of Enterprises with Public Participation (CEEP) adopted a joint contribution to the /Confidence Pact for Action on Employment in Europe,/ in preparation for the Dublin European Council summit held in December. In their statement, the social partners express their deepest concern at the high level of unemployment which continues to prevail across the EU, and criticise what they perceive as a lack of coordination and implementation of a Europe-wide strategy to combat the problem effectively. They pronounce themselves in favour of Commission President Santer's proposal for a Confidence Pact, and see their declaration as "a committed response to his proposals on the themes of youth unemployment, lifelong learning, and better use of Structural Funds for job creation, in a macroeconomic environment conducive to growth and employment".
  • Employers and unions adopt positions on labour market reform

    Employers and unions want to reduce the amount of temporary recruitment and the number of types of employment contract. They also want to increase their freedom to negotiate labour market issues through collective bargaining. These are the key issues in the current debate over a new round of labour market reforms in Spain.
  • Basic pay up 2.3% in western Germany in 1996

    According to a recent analysis by the Institute for Economics and Social Science (Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliches Institut, WSI) basic wages and salaries in western Germany grew on average by about 2.3% in 1996. Thus, pay increased by about 0.8 percentage points above the inflation rate, which stood at 1.5% in 1996. Altogether, about 15.1 million employees were covered by collective agreements signed in 1996. The highest pay increases, at 2.8%, were in the energy and water industry and in the iron and steel industry. The lowest increases were in banking (1.5%), post and telecommunications (1.4%) and public services (1.3%).

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