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
  • 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".
  • Implementation of the tripartite Pact for Employment

    The Italian Government and social partners are currently implementing their tripartite "Pact for Employment" (Patto per il Lavoro), which is intended to promote employment and foster economic development in Italy through the introduction of a wide and complex set of policies. The agreement, signed on 24 September 1996, is of the utmost political importance as it falls within within the framework of the renened social concertation strategy that has been pursued over the 1990s. The Pact earmarks a total amount of about ITL 15,000 billion for its implementation over the 1997-1999 period.
  • 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.
  • Public sector pay policies

    Three independent pay review bodies were created more than 25 years ago in what has been described as an attempt "to remove a range of highly sensitive settlements from the political arena" (P Bassett, /The Times,/ 7 February 1997). They recommended pay increases for doctors and dentists, the most senior grades in the armed forces, the civil service and the judiciary, and for the rest of the armed forces. The pay review system assumed greater importance when it was extended to cover nearly 500,000 nurses, midwives and other health service professionals in 1983 and a similar number of schoolteachers in England and Wales in 1992. In both cases, the creation of pay review bodies followed lengthy disputes and a history of repeated failure of the negotiating machinery to produce agreement on pay settlements without frequent arbitration or periodic special enquiries.
  • National conference on youth employment

    In a context of increasingly difficult youth employment in France, and of social tension about what course of action to take, a recent national conference has defined a number of concrete objectives. These seek to secure employment for the most disadvantaged, and to expose students to the world of work for the first time. These aims are based on a series of commitments on the part of industry, Government and the social partners - who remain at odds in their analysis - the effects of which must be monitored.
  • A "multicoloured" march for jobs: the human element first

    On Sunday 2 February 1997, a so-called "multicoloured march for jobs" drew about 50,000 people from all over Belgium to the streets of Clabecq, a small industrial town on the borders of the provinces of Brabant and Hainaut.
  • LO executive committee proposes new action programme

    The executive committee (sekretariatet) of the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (Landsorganisasjonen i Norge, or LO), the largest union confederation in Norway, has recommended a programme of action containing a set of policy principles for the period 1997-2001. The programme encompasses a wide variety of social and economic issues and is to be adopted at the confederation's congress on 10-16 May 1997 after a plenary debate.
  • European Parliament debates employee consultation measures

    At its plenary session of 13-17 January 1997, the European Parliament debated two important measures relating to employee consultation in European companies. After the European Works Councils (EWCs) Directive was passed in 1994, the Commission published a Communication on the future of employee consultation in November 1995, in order to revive a legislative issue which has been under discussion in various forms for over 15 years. Its aim was to explore whether the model used for determining the structure and operation of EWCs could be used in a wider context as a basis for making progress with the long-delayed European Company Statute.
  • Trade unions and Social Democrats agree on unemployment insurance

    One of the continuing quarrels between the Social Democrat Government and the largest trade union confederation, the Confederation of Trade Unions for Blue-Collar Workers (Landsorganisationen or LO), appears to have been settled by an agreement on the overall features of the unemployment insurance system, presented on 12 February. Formally, the Government is not involved in the settlement, but the details of the settlement were presented in a press release from the Ministry of Labour and in person by the Minister of Labour, Margareta Winberg, together with LO's vice-president, Wanja Lundby-Wedin.

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