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

13658 items found
  • Two-year collective agreement for government employees

    On 21 February 1997, theMinistry of Finance and the Danish Central Federation of State Employees (CFU) signed a new collective agreement for the period 1997-9, covering 225,000 government employees. The parties agreed on a total 4.25% increase, of which 2.9% is to be allocated for a general pay rise, and 1.35% for pensions and other purposes. Additionally, a wage adjustment scheme has been introduced to take account of private sector increases
  • Civil servants' pay negotiations break down.

    Following the freezing of civil servants' salaries imposed by the Government for 1996, the Government announced the convening of pay negotiations which have been continually put off since the spring of 1996, but which will now not take place at all.
  • Low wages in a high-wage economy

    Compared to many other western industrialised countries, Germany has the image of being a high-wage economy with a relatively low inequality of incomes and living standards. This is mainly the result of the German system of branch-level central collective bargaining (Flächentarifvertrag), where almost all employees in any sector receive the same basic payment. Nevertheless, it is not widely known that there is still a large number of sectors and areas of employment where collectively-agreed basic wages and salaries are relatively low. This is the main finding of a recent study by the Institute for Economics and Social Science (Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliches Institut,WSI) on low wages in Germany ("Niedriglöhne. Die unbekannte Realität: Armut trotz Arbeit", Gerd Pohl & Claus Schäfer (eds), VSA-Verlag Hamburg (1996)). The study was inspired by the European Commission which, in 1993, adopted an Opinion on an equitable wage, the main purpose of which was "to outline certain basic principles on equitable wages, while taking into account social and economic realities".
  • European social partners issue joint declaration on Confidence Pact for Employment

    At a special Social Dialogue Committee meeting held on 29 November 1996, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), the Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe (UNICE), and the European Centre of Enterprises with Public Participation (CEEP) adopted a joint contribution to the /Confidence Pact for Action on Employment in Europe,/ in preparation for the Dublin European Council summit held in December. In their statement, the social partners express their deepest concern at the high level of unemployment which continues to prevail across the EU, and criticise what they perceive as a lack of coordination and implementation of a Europe-wide strategy to combat the problem effectively. They pronounce themselves in favour of Commission President Santer's proposal for a Confidence Pact, and see their declaration as "a committed response to his proposals on the themes of youth unemployment, lifelong learning, and better use of Structural Funds for job creation, in a macroeconomic environment conducive to growth and employment".
  • Social partners start discussions on reform of the July 1993 agreement

    The issue of wage flexibility as a means of promoting employment growth was initially put forward by the ex-president of Confindustria (the most important Italian employers' association), Luigi Abete, as a problem which had not been adequately dealt with in the 1993 income policy agreement. CISL, one of the three main trade union confederations, later took up the wage flexibility issue and proposed flexibility in starting wages (the so-called "entrance salary") as a means of tackling the extremely serious employment crisis in some southern regions of Italy.
  • A new wave of strikes in Greece

    The end of 1996 and the first two months of 1997 were marked by a wave of strikes that began last November and December, upsetting the relative industrial calm that had existed over recent years. The strikes peaked during January but continued throughout February, for at least certain groups of employees, though by then they had begun to peter out. The strikes represent basically a head-on clash with the Government's policy of austerity, and focus primarily on discontent with the tax system and a recently-passed tax law. This clash also acquired a political character, since the demands of workers across various sectors converged and merged within the wider context of discontent.
  • The 1997 bargaining round previewed

    The majority of Norwegian wage agreements are of two years' duration, and the current settlements will expire during 1998. However, issues relating to remuneration will be renegotiated at central level in 1997. Most of the agreements between LO (the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions or Landsorganisasjonen i Norge) and NHO (the Confederation of Norwegian Business and Industry or Næringslivets Hovedorganisasjon) in the private sector expire on 31 March 1997, and bargaining is expected to commence in mid-March. Agreements in the public sector expire one month later. The social partners have not yet specified their demands, but all the central parties have held initial bargaining conferences. In this feature, we describe the economic climate in Norway prior to the wage negotiations, examine the provisional demands the social partners have put forward, and comment on these demands in the light of the existing social pact between the central labour market parties in Norway, the so-called "Solidarity Alternative" (Solidaritetsalternativet).
  • 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.
  • Employers and unions adopt positions on labour market reform

    Employers and unions want to reduce the amount of temporary recruitment and the number of types of employment contract. They also want to increase their freedom to negotiate labour market issues through collective bargaining. These are the key issues in the current debate over a new round of labour market reforms in Spain.
  • Telecom offers personal contracts to managers

    Telecom Eireann's plan to introduce personal contracts for 300 of its managers who report directly to senior executives must be seen in the context of the company's effort to implement a major programme of change to meet the requirements of EU-driven deregulation requirements. A Telecom redundancy package was also reactivated recently, one of several in recent years, as the company seeks to reduce costs. It is also to enter talks with the union representing general workers in Telecom, the Communications Workers Union, on a proposed IEP 110 million cost savings plan.

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