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
  • 1996 saw the lowest number of unofficial strikes in the 1990s

    According to the yearly wage statistics from the Danish Employers' Confederation (DA), 1996 was the most conflict-free year for the private sector labour market in the 1990s. From 1995 to 1996, the number of unofficial strikes - defined as those in contravention of a collective agreement - fell from 1,740 to 791 and the number of working days lost decreased by 70% to 52,808 in 1996. Although there was an overall decrease in working days lost, the proportion of working days lost due to wage disagreements increased from 45% to 52% and conflicts related to redundancies and dismissals increased from 5% to 13%. Between 1995 and 1996 secondary action fell drastically, from 34% to 9% of the total number of working days lost. This can be attributed to the 1995 bus conflict ("RiBus-konflikten"), one of the longest disputes in post-war Danish industrial relations.
  • Talks open on change and share plan at Telecom

    A joint management/trade union Joint Strategic Consultative Group (JSCG) has been established to tackle the job of negotiating an agreement to help to transform state-owned Telecom Eireann to meet current and future competitive challenges. The key issues which the JSCG expects to address before the end of April 1997 are a five-year, IEP 110 million cost reduction plan, change and flexibility proposals and the question of an Employee Share Ownership Plan (ESOP), first proposed by the trade unions.
  • Building industry agreement increases pay and flexibility

    In the new collective agreement in the Dutch building industry, signed in March 1997, a relatively large pay increase has been matched by a degree of increased flexibility regarding the use of temporary employment agency workers and the rules governing working hours.
  • Employment alliance signed at Mercedes Benz

    On 27 February 1997, a company-wide employment alliance (Beschäftigungspakt) was signed at the automobile manufacturer Mercedes Benz. A whole package of instruments should boost competitiveness and save the jobs of the 134,000 employees working for Mercedes Benz in Germany. The background to the agreement is the increasing international competition between different potential production locations, and the resulting need to cut costs.
  • Courts play an increasing role in supervising mass redundancies

    After a legal battle lasting more than three years between the management of La Samaritaine (one of the five large Paris department stores), and its works council and CGT union branch, two rulings by the highest court in the French legal system on 13 February 1997, imposed the reinstatement of staff made redundant, as part of the cancellation of a corporate "downsizing" procedure (plan social). These rulings reveal the growing role of judges in the supervision of redundancies.
  • Commission underlines the role of the social partners in fighting racism

    Over the past decade there has been increasing concern among the institutions of the European Union about the rising tide of racism across the member states. In a recent address to a conference on combating racism organised by the ETUC, social affairs commissioner Padraig Flynn highlighted the importance of the fight against racism in "achieving improved working conditions, creating jobs, improved industrial relations, the use of human resources to the best possible effect, social justice, equal opportunities, wealth and tolerance".
  • Working time experiments introduced in 20 municipalities

    The Ministry of Labour has chosen 20 municipalities in different parts of Finland to participate in new forms of working time organisation on an experimental basis. Results so far have been favourable.
  • The closure of Renault-Vilvoorde

    On Thursday 27 February 1997 Renault announced - completely unexpectedly - the closure of its Belgian production plant in Vilvoorde by July of this year. As a result, more than 3,000 Renault employees and an estimated 1,500 employees in direct supply companies will lose their jobs. There is a general consensus that the decision ignored all legal rules and procedures concerning factory closures. This includes ILO and OECD procedures as well as national codes of conduct, and European Union and national legislation on collective redundancies and works council rights. These regulations lay down that employees have to be notified before a decision about a factory closure is made and informed about the ways in which the company plans to deal with the consequences for the employees.
  • Commission rejects French textile plan

    The issue of the use of national and European subsidies to support employment in a particular country, region or sector, has come under the spotlight in recent weeks in the context of the controversy which has arisen from Renault's announcement of the closure of its factory at Vilvoorde in Belgium (see Record EU9703108F [1]). Renault's request for subsidies to expand its operations in Spain was blocked by European competition policy commissioner, Karel Van Miert, in order to investigate whether EU funding was being used to transfer employment to a region offering lower wage and social costs. [1] www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/undefined-working-conditions/the-renault-case-and-the-future-of-social-europe
  • Trade unions mobilise for the enforcement of the pact for employment

    A demonstration took place in Rome on 22 March backed by the three biggest trade union confederations, CGIL, CISL, and UIL, in support of the enforcement of the "trilateral" agreement on employment signed in September 1996.

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