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

13878 items found
  • Towards union representation in local retail outlets ?

    In the retail and distributive sector, each type of shop - conventional department stores, retail shops, food supermarkets with at least two branches and independent retail shops - is covered by its own joint committee [1] and, depending on its type, its employees work 36, 38 or 40 hours a week, have pay differentials of between 20%- 25% and the right to be represented by a union delegation [2] or not. [1] [2]
  • European Court of Justice U-turn on transfers brings uncertainty for employees

    The ECJ's ruling on 11 March 1997 in the case of /Süzen v Zehnacher Gebäudereinigung GmbH Krankenhausservice and another/ (Case C-13/95) made a potential "U-turn" in the interpretation of the EU Directive on transfers of undertakings, that has left a question mark over the way that the employment rights of the employees of contractors are decided. The ruling stems from a court case in Germany in which a school cleaner, Ayse Süzen, lost her job when her employer failed to keep the cleaning contract at the school where she worked. Ms Süzen challenged the decision of the new contractor not to re-employ the cleaning workers dismissed by their original employer.
  • Reorganisation and reduction of statutory working time: early assessment of the Robien law

    The publication of an assessment commissioned by the National Assembly's Finance Commission, and the campaign for the May/June 1997 general election, have reopened the debate in France on the content and efficiency of the Robien law, which seeks to encourage working time reductions and reorganisation to create or save jobs. Politicians, economists, employers and unions remain divided whilst the number of collective agreements at company level based on the law is increasing.
  • Strike on the Barcelona Metro

    Recent months have seen an intensifying and unresolved dispute over pensions at Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB), including 14 days of strike activity starting on 21 February 1997. This is the first time in four years that all the unions represented on the TMB workers' committee have acted jointly to claim what they understand as a right laid down in previous agreements.
  • Civil service strike threats

    The hard core of the strike threat are 10,000 civil servants in internal revenue collection and in the customs service. They have two complaints:
  • Non-wage labour costs in Germany reach new record high

    Non-wage labour costs are those categories of the enterprise's total labour costs comprising other than direct compensation. Today, non-wage labour costs account for a very substantial and rising proportion of total labour costs. Since increasing labour costs tend to encourage substitution away from labour to more capital-intensive methods of production, rising non-wage labour costs are an impediment to job creation. Furthermore, some non-wage labour costs - such as social security contributions - drive a wedge between the labour costs that companies pay and the money that workers receive, thus making collective bargaining more difficult. Via unit labour costs - nominal labour costs divided by real value added - non-wage labour costs are likely to have some effect on companies' location decisions.
  • Davignon group on worker involvement publishes recommendations

    The high-level expert group on worker involvement was established in 1996 with the aim of developing solutions to break the 25-year deadlock on European Commission proposals containing clauses on worker involvement, and in particular, the European Company Statute (ECS). The Commission has repeatedly stressed the importance of such a statute, enabling the incorporation of companies at EU level, in order to improve the competitiveness of European companies. Such proposals have long remained blocked in the Council of Ministers, largely because of concerns from countries with advanced employee participation systems which fear that the ECS could be used by companies to circumvent national legislation in this area. Similarly, a solution would have to avoid imposing foreign models of employee representation upon member states where there is currently no provision for the appointment of worker representatives to the boards of companies.
  • Government strategic plan to support company restructuring and upgrade human resources

    The recession affecting Portuguese companies from 1991 to 1994 showed that the difficulties faced by the country stemmed not just from economic circumstances. Rather, the roots were far more complex and called for structural changes to competitive factors involving the very fabric of business and a general remodelling of managerial capacity, vocational qualifications and financial structure.
  • Share option scheme considered at KLM

    In anticipation of the spring 1997 collective bargaining round, pilots at Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) are considering contributing to the company's cost-cutting programme by exchanging salaries for share options and an increased say in company policy. Unions are divided over this exchange.
  • Social affairs Council takes stock of information and consultation initiatives

    Meeting on 17 April 1997, the Labour and Social Affairs Council of Ministers took stock of initiatives by the European Commission and the Council Presidency aimed at improving information, consultation and participation mechanisms for employees. Padraig Flynn, the commissioner responsible for employment, industrial relations and social affairs, highlighted the importance of such initiatives in the light of the Renault crisis (EU9703108F [1]). He also reported on the current status of the work by the high-level expert working group on worker involvement. [1]