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

13879 items found
  • Government proposes economic measures to reduce unemployment

    In its bill, presented to Parliament on 15 April 1997, the Government states that the policy of austerity which has been in operation for last few years has been so successful that it is now possible to focus more on its most important goal - to halve the rate of unemployment to 4% before 2000.
  • Tribunal decision annuls Renault closure

    The next step in the Renault Vilvoorde saga (BE9703202F [1]) was probably not initially foreseen by Renault senior management in Paris. Indeed, although the Renault managing director, Louis Schweitzer, has already announced that the tribunal decision to annul the closure of the Renault plant in Vilvoorde will in no way interfere with the plans to close the plant, it has slightly changed the dynamics and the timetable of the course of events. [1]
  • Strikes in the hospital sector

    The law on social welfare, adopted in November 1995, included provisions on a range of matters, such as: the submission of the social security budget to parliamentary vote; the setting up of a new tax known as "social security deficit clearance" (Remboursement de la dette sociale); the abolition of pension funds relating to specific sectors, which sparked off the rail strike in November and December 1995 and was finally withdrawn; and the setting up of personal health record books. One of the provisions related to the reduction of health expenditure and a reorganisation of the healthcare system. Two types of redistribution in particular were provided for:
  • New rules for family credits

    The Standing Committee for Social Dialogue (the Economic and Social Council's tripartite committee) has approved new rules relating to family credits in Portugal.
  • New works agreement to secure investment at Ford Germany

    On 22 April 1997, the management board at Ford Germany and the company works council (Gesamtbetriebsrat) signed a new works agreement to secure investment. In the agreement, Ford management promises new investments at the five German Ford plants at Cologne, Düren, Berlin, Wülfrath and Saarlouis. Although the exact figures have not been published it is estimated that investments will total about DEM 10 billion in the next few years.
  • Protests in the olive-producing sector in Spain

    The recent proposal by the EU agriculture commissioner, Franz Fischler, to alter the method of granting Community aid to olive farmers fell like a bombshell in Spain. This reform would not only have serious economic repercussions, but would also lead to the loss of at least 70,000 jobs, according to some trade unions in the sector. Farm-owners' organisations, cooperatives, trade unions and the regional and central administrations have rejected the proposal and are preparing all kinds of protest action.
  • UK now one of the least strike-prone countries in the OECD

    An international comparison of labour disputes from 1986 to 1995 by /Labour Market Trends/ (April 1997) highlights that the UK had the fourth-lowest strike rate of the 22 member countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 1995. Only Austria, Switzerland and Germany had a lower level of strikes than the UK. The UK strike rate has been below the OECD average since 1986 and below the EU average since 1990. Between 1991 and 1995 the average rate in the UK was 24 working days lost per 1,000 workers - an 82% fall over the previous five-year period. But the UK's rise in the international "league table" of two places since 1994 took place despite an increase in the strike rate itself.
  • Commission reports on progress of social action programme

    In a recent report (/Social Europe/ 4/96, published in March/April 1997), the European Commission assesses the progress towards the achievement of the goals of the medium-term social action programme covering the period between 1995-7. This social action programme, adopted in April 1995, is seen by the Commission as marking a breakthrough for new ideas and policies. The basic concept underlying the programme is that social policy is a productive factor facilitating change and progress, rather than a burden on the economy or an obstacle to growth.
  • 1996 solidarity pact in the chemical industry proves successful

    The German chemical industry enjoys a long tradition of successful consensus-based industrial relations. In spring 1996, the bargaining partners concluded a "solidarity pact" in the form of a package of regional and national collective agreements. The agreements ran for 12 months and covered 590,000 employees in western Germany. The aim of the deal was to meet the challenges of globalisation and structural change, as well as to extend the competences of the social partners at enterprise and company level. The implementation of the two most important elements of the solidarity pact - the employment alliance and the collective agreement on part-time work for older workers - has recently been reviewed.
  • First collective agreement at Guardian Automotive Europe SA

    In March 1997, Guardian Europe SA, signed its first-ever collective agreement for blue-collar workers. The deal provides for pay increases, while its provisions on other terms and conditions largely mirror statutory provisions.