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

13721 items found
  • Bargaining, union elections and workforce reductions in banking

    Negotiations to revise the important collective agreement in Portugal's banking sector are deadlocked. The industry's largest trade union will soon hold its elections, but its socialist members are divided, while substantial workforce reductions have been announced for the coming years.
  • 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.
  • Territorial Employment Pacts underway

    Debate about employment has resumed over the last few months in Greece, owing to an initiative to set up "Territorial Employment Pacts" (TEPs).
  • 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.
  • Privatisation reforms human resource management at Lisnave shipyards

    Portugal's major Lisnave shipyards are being privatised. New industrial readjustment and work organisation strategies are reforming human resource management and training standards. However, in a company that has strong trade union traditions, discussions with employee representatives on restructuring have been conducted in a relatively formal and institutionalised way, with little participative input from the employees concerned themselves.
  • Commission issues Communication on the modernisation of social protection systems

    In a Communication published in March 1997, the European Commission calls for the modernisation, adaptation and improvement of social protection systems in the member states. It argues that these systems, most of which were established decades ago, no longer conform with the changing economic and social conditions of today's society. The Commission sees a particular need for social protection systems, which currently account for 28% of total EU GDP, to be adapted to:
  • A new role model - centralised wage bargaining in Ireland

    One of the keenest debates in industrial relations in Europe is the relationship between the institutional structure of the labour market and economic performance and, in particular, the contribution of the wage determination process to national competitiveness. Considerable attention has focused on European economies, like Germany and Sweden, whose traditionally centralised and coordinated bargaining systems have come under significant pressures in recent years. The case of Ireland has attracted less attention.
  • Hospitals faced with strikes.

    Two separate strikes have been hitting the French hospital sector over February and March 1997. On the one hand, certain unions are campaigning against cuts in hospital budgets while, on the other hand, numerous trainee doctors and senior consultants are on strike, demanding the revision of the medical agreement co-signed by the health insurance office (CNAM) and the medical profession, which in their opinion hinders the practicing of professional medicine.
  • Ministry of Labour launches vocational training campaign

    The campaign is the latest in a series of political initiatives aimed at improving the Danish vocational training system. Throughout the second half of the 1990s, the Danish Government has reformed the system by increasing its market and demand orientation, accompanied by increased financial allowances for employees attending training. In the 1997 Financial Act, expenditure to support companies undertaking projects aimed at planning vocational training activities was raised from DKK 40 million to DKK 65 million. A further sum of DDK 105 million is available to support companies which wish to improve working life.
  • Proposal for reform of the welfare state

    On 5 March 1997, the Italian Prime Minister, Romano Prodi, informed the political parties and social partners about the report drawn up by the "Commission for macroeconomic compatibility of social expenditure", a committee of experts established by the Government and chaired by Professor Paolo Onofri. The proposals for reform deal with all the key elements of public spending: healthcare, public assistance, and, of particular interest for the industrial relations system, pensions and labour market policies. This document drew critical reactions from the trade union confederations, while the evaluation from the Confindustria employers' confederation was fairly positive.

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