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

13710 items found
  • Ministry of Employment clarifies controversial Law on Working Time Reduction

    Law 21/96, which aims to reduce the working week to 40 hours, has given rise to labour disputes in certain sectors and some controversial statements. An official communication released by the Secretary of State for Employment in March attempts to shed light on the areas of concern.
  • Miners' revolt ends in "corporatist" compromise

    The cause of the industrial unrest was the announcement by the ruling Conservative-Liberal coalition Government that it was planning to scale back annual subsidies for the - basically west - German hard coal (Steinkohle) industry dramatically. During the ensuing protests, Germany saw a human chain of more than 90 kilometres straight through the Ruhr coal heartland, and sympathy demonstrations from east German brown coal miners. Miners in the Ruhr and the Saar areas went on strike. Tens of thousands of miners took to the streets, occupied pits and town halls, and blocked roads as well as the Bonn headquarters of Chancellor Helmut Kohl's ruling Christian Democratic Party (CDU) and its coalition partner, the Free Democrat Party (FDP). In the days before the compromise, the protests of the rank and file seemed to get out of control of the miners' union, IG Bergbau und Energie (IGBE), and its chair, Hans Berger. For the first time in German post-war history, furious miners even entered the restricted area surrounding government buildings in Bonn where no public meetings or marches may be held. As an "act of solidarity with miners fighting for their existence" the Social Democratic Party (SPD) temporarily boycotted a meeting in which opposition and coalition politicians were discussing the reform of the German tax system. When the miners laid siege to Bonn, Chancellor Kohl temporarily put off talks with the union leaders to avoid having to negotiate under duress.
  • New agreement on cooperation and bargaining procedure in Swedish industry

    On 18 March 1997, eight trade unions and 12 employers' organisations in industry concluded an agreement on cooperation and the regulation of pay. Its aim is to promote growth, profitability and competitiveness in industry. As such, claim the parties, it will provide the necessary prerequisite for a reduction of unemployment and form the basis for improvements in pay and good working conditions.
  • 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.
  • NHO reports increase in membership

    The number of member companies of the Confederation of Norwegian Business and Industry (NHO) increased by around 2,000 during 1996. NHO aims for a further growth in membership towards the year 2000.
  • Trends in collective bargaining since 1994

    The major labour market reform legislation of 1994 made important changes to the framework for collective bargaining in Spain. This feature examines bargaining trends since 1994, and analyses the positions of the parties involved and the results of the reform.
  • Commission publishes amended proposal on transfer of undertakings

    The European Commission has published its amended proposal for a Council Directive amending Directive 77/187/EEC on the safeguarding of employees' rights in the event of transfers of undertakings. The amended proposal reflects the Opinions submitted by the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, as well as the many amendments put forward by the European Parliament. Soon after the publication of the amended draft, the Commission also issued a Memorandum on the interpretation of the Directive (Record EU9703109F [1]) [1] www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/undefined/commission-issues-memorandum-on-transfer-of-undertakings
  • More flexibility in Sunday working

    On 19 March 1997, Parliament passed a reform of the Arbeitszeitgesetz(AZG, Working Time Act) - see Record AT9702102F [1]. This necessitated minor changes to the Arbeitsruhegesetz(ARG, Leisure Time Act) which were also passed on 19 March. However, the parliamentary Labour and Social Affairs Committee, at the behest of the social partners, had introduced wording allowing more flexibility than hitherto in regard to Sunday work, causing a major public debate in its wake. In future it will be possible for the social partners to conclude collective agreements permitting exceptions from the general ban on Sunday work. They can only do so, the law states, if it is necessary in order to avoid economic disadvantage or to safeguard employment. As far as this is feasible, the collective agreement has to specify the activities to be permissible on Sundays and the time allowed for them. Until now it was not possible to grant specific exemptions from the ban on Sunday work except if the technology required continuous production. The Minister of Labour and Social Affairs could, however, permit a whole industry to work on Sundays. [1] www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/undefined-law-and-regulation/moves-towards-greater-working-time-flexibility
  • 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.
  • UNICE outlines its vision for the future of the European social dialogue

    In its response to the Commission's September 1996 Communication on the development of the social dialogue (see Record EU9702102F [1]), UNICE (the Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe) welcomes the opportunity for debate and calls for a reinforcement of consultation with the social partners. However, it argues that the treatment of fundamentally different processes in one Communication adds a source of confusion to the debate. These varied processes include: the consultation and negotiation within the meaning of Article 118B of the EC Treaty and Article 3.1 of the Agreement on social policy; Advisory Committees; the Standing Committee on Employment; the joint sectoral committees and informal working groups; tripartite bodies; joint operational initiatives; European Works Councils, and the social dialogue in trans-boundary region. UNICE feels that the Communication should have: [1] www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/undefined-industrial-relations/the-future-of-the-social-dialogue-at-community-level

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