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

13815 items found
  • Legal barriers to European-level collective bargaining

    Judging from a recent exchange of letters between a Dutch trade unions and the Department of Justice, it would appear that cross-border cooperation between unions, let alone their international merger, is beset with legal difficulties.
  • New collective agreements in printing

    On 6 February 1997, the Bundesverband Druck employers' association and the Industriegewerkschaft Medien trade union signed two new nationwide collective agreements for the 130,000 manual workers in the German printing industry. The first agreement covers the general developments of wages, and the second agreement is a renewal of the sector's general framework agreement on employment conditions [1] (Manteltarifvertrag). [1] www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/efemiredictionary/framework-agreement-on-employment-conditions
  • Future of the Post Office under debate

    In February, the Communication Workers' Union (CWU) launched a consultative paper aimed at influencing the pre-election commitments of both the Conservative Party and Labour Party. The union, which is firmly against privatisation of the Post Office, has called for legislation to turn it into an independent corporation, with the level of dividends pegged at 40% of post-tax profits. The union feels that its proposals will have equal appeal to all political parties because of the weight of public opinion opposing privatisation.
  • Government ends pay guidelines to nationalised companies

    At the end of January 1997, the Prime Minister ended the practice of issuing pay guidelines to France's nationalised companies.
  • Employers and unions disagree on the duration of new collective agreements

    1997's collective bargaining in the private sector is concentrating on three main issues: 100% wage compensation during maternity leave; further negotiations over the pension scheme initiated in 1991; and a limited wage increase to allow for inflation. The social partners in the different bargaining areas are largely in agreement on the content of the new collective agreements, but the central social partner organisations - the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) and the Danish Employers' Confederation (DA) - still cannot agree whether the new collective agreements should be of two or three years' duration.
  • Bank service fees dispute averted

    Recently-announced plans by banks to levy service charges on the accounts into which employees' salaries and wages are paid, have resulted in trade union protests and the dropping of the proposals.
  • New national agreement on continuing training

    At the end of 1996, the major trade unions and employers' associations signed the Second National Agreement on Continuing Training (II Acuerdo Nacional de Formación Continua), which was later endorsed by a tripartite agreement between these organisations and the Government. The new agreements build on certain basic aspects of the continuing training system in Spain that was started in 1993, though they also introduce some important innovations.
  • Legislation increases national minimum wage

    A recent decree-law issued by the Government has increased the national minimum wage from 1 January 1997. The monthly rates have risen by up to 5%. We review Portugal's minimum wage system and the reactions to, and implications of, the 1997 increase.
  • Only one firm in five has a works council

    In the Works Constitution [1] Act (Betriebsverfassungsgesetz) of 1972, works councils [2] in Germany are given extensive rights of information, consultation and co-determination [3]. The employer has to provide the works council with both timely and comprehensive information on all matters related to the discharge of its functions. In establishments with over 20 employees, information must be given "in full and in good time" on reductions in operations and the introduction of new working methods. Consultation rights cover planned structural alterations to the plant and prospective changes in equipment and working methods that affect job requirements, all decisions relating to manpower planning, and individual dismissals. [1] www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/efemiredictionary/works-constitution-0 [2] www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/efemiredictionary/works-council-2 [3] www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/efemiredictionary/co-determination-2
  • Ford case highlights the costs of inward and outward investment

    The Ford Motor Company announced on 16 January 1997 that it was to cut 1,300 jobs at its Halewood plant on Merseyside (in the north-west of England) This was after five days of speculation following a report in the /Observer/ newspaper that Ford wanted to install new efficient working practices, and that it would threaten to build its new -generation Escort model elsewhere, or close the plant altogether if trade unions did not agree to concessions. It was confirmed on 16 January that production of the new-model Escort would not include Halewood but instead be located at Saarlouis (Germany) and Valencia (Spain), and furthermore that Halewood would also immediately reduce its shift pattern to one shift per day. Because production of the old-model Escort is due to be phased out by 2000, there appears to be a real threat of the plant closing down altogether

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