EurWORK European Observatory of Working Life


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

13886 items found
  • 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] [2] [3] [4] [5]
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Are women the trade union members of the future?

    The typical trade union member of the future could well be a 30-year-old female VDU operator, balancing both work and family responsibilities, according to the TUC. A new report launched at the TUC's women's conference held in Scarborough on 12-14 March, argues that if unions can rise to the challenge, the number of women members could increase by as many as 400,000 by the turn of the century. According to the report (/Women and the new unionism/), women now make up half of the workforce, but only a third are members of a union. Young women are thought to be particularly difficult to organise. Only 6% of women employees under the age of 20 years are presently union members, compared with 24% aged between 20 and 29 years old.
  • Part-time employment: a new feature of the Spanish labour market

    The 1994 labour market reform led to a spectacular increase in part-time employment contracts, which had hardly been used in Spain before that time. This feature describes this development and points out the main characteristics of the workers employed under these contracts, who are mainly women.
  • Workers in performing arts take action over unemployment benefit plans

    Workers in the performing arts have been protesting about threats to their special unemployment benefit scheme arising from employers' positions in the recent renewal of the agreement on the general UNEDIC scheme.
  • Dockers' unions opposed to dock work reform

    The Government has published a working document, entitled "Maritime and ports policy at the approach of the 21st Century", for public debate. In the document it proposes a number of measures to deregulate dock work, and the National Federation of Dockers' Unions has criticised the lack of prior dialogue and is opposing the new proposals.