/Combating racial discrimination and xenophobia is an issue which has become
increasingly prominent on the European Union agenda in recent years. Since
the mid-1980s, a rising tide of concern with the problem can be perceived in
various declarations and resolutions by Community institutions, and notably
in the inclusion of the issue of racial discrimination in the 1989 "Social
Charter". The past two years, especially, have seen significant developments,
many of which are of direct relevance to employment and industrial
Ireland's newly elected Government, a minority centrist coalition between
Fianna Fail and the Progressive Democrats (PDs), is firmly committed to
implementing /Partners/ /hip 2000/, which was agreed between the social
partners and the former "rainbow" coalition Government in January 1997
(IE9702103F ). The rainbow Government was a left-of-centre administration
made up of Fine Gael, the Labour Party and the Democratic Left.
A recent dispute and subsequent agreement in May 1997 between Caja Madrid, an
important savings bank, and the trade unions is an important reference point
for the current debate on working hours and employment in the Spanish banking
Within the framework of European Works Councils, "Community-scale" companies
are defined as those employing at least 1,000 workers with branches or
subsidiaries which employ 150 workers or more in at least two European Union
member states. According to government estimates, approximately 100
multinational companies which have their headquarters in the Netherlands will
be subject to the EWC Act. The Netherlands ranks fifth as a home base for
multinationals covered by the Directive. In addition to the Dutch-based
multinationals, it is still unknown how many non-member state companies will
appoint their Dutch operations to be their headquarters in order to meet the
provisions of the EWC Act, and the Directive's requirements.
After the failure in late 1996 (BE9702101F ) to come to a national
intersectoral agreement for 1997-8, the Belgian Government gave the
lower-level negotiators on both sides a clear message: the maximum pay
increase should be 6.1% spread over two years (1997 and 1998). The
negotiators have apparently respected the Government's position: the average
increase in labour costs arising from sectoral collective agreements is
between 5.6% and 5.7%. The Government also guaranteed an annual subsidy of
BEF 150,000 to help offset the cost of each newly created job, if two of the
following employment schemes were part of the negotiated agreement -
part-time work, part-time early retirement, flexible work schedules,
collective reduction of working hours, additional training and temporary
leave or career breaks (loopbaanonderbreking).
In March 1997, the US, British, Canadian, French, Belgian and Dutch Allied
Forces stationed in Germany employed around 30,000 civilian employees. Due to
the end of the cold war and the resulting closure of bases and reduction of
troops by the Allied Forces, civilian employment fell from 105,000 in 1985 to
75,000 in 1991 to 31,000 in 1996. Civilian employees typically work in jobs
such as office staff, transport and storage staff, mechanics, security staff,
firefighters, technicians, electricians, cleaners and caterers.
On 20 June 1997 the management of one of Germany's leading chemical
companies, Bayer AG, and the company works council  (Gesamtbetriebsrat) -
politically supported by the chemical workers' union, IG
Chemie-Papier-Keramik- signed a new works agreement  to save production
sites and employment in Germany. The central aim of the agreement is to
guarantee production at the five German Bayer plants in Leverkusen, Dormagen,
Uerdingen, Elberfeld and Brunsbüttel.
The new and amended Work Environment Act adopted on 30 May 1997 has
infuriated theDanish Employers' Confederation (DA). The DA had criticised the
Minister of Labour,Jytte Andersen during the preparatory process (DK9705111N
), accusing her of ignoring the views of the social partners and attacking
the perceived hastiness of the process. It stated that: "Ms Andersen's
solitary approach will unavoidably create problems for tripartite
cooperation, which so far has been the modus operandi of the health and
safety system in Denmark". TheDanish Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) is in
agreement with the DA, stating that the process has been contrary to past
practice and characterised by secretiveness. Normally the Minister would
establish a tripartite committee, which would then propose action.
The multinational industrial diamond manufacturer, De Beers, is planning a
major restructuring programme at its Shannon plant, which will involve an
overhaul of its reward and grading systems, as well as some recruitment and a
number of redeployments and voluntary redundancies. The key changes,
announced to employees at the end of April 1997, involve the proposed
introduction of a performance-based pay system and the establishment of a new
lower entry rate of pay. There would be an element of "red circling" for
existing employees at the top of their scales, which would remain unchanged
apart from the application of nationally agreed pay rises.
In May 1997, the Dutch trade union Industriebond FNV demanded a halt to
demolition work by a Chinese company on two blast furnaces in the
Netherlands, in a case which has highlighted concerns about working and
employment conditions in complex transnational assembly and demolition
The European Restructuring Monitor (ERM) has reported on the employment impact of large-scale business restructuring since 2002. This publication series include the ERM reports, as well as blogs, articles and working papers on restructuring-related events in the EU27 and Norway.
Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) paints a wide-ranging picture of Europe at work across countries, occupations, sectors and age groups. This series consists of findings from the European Working Conditions Telephone Survey (EWCTS) 2021, an extraordinary edition conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey was first carried out in 1990.
This publication series gathers all overview reports on developments in working life, annual reviews in industrial relations and working conditions produced by Eurofound on the basis of national contributions from the Network of Eurofound Correspondents (NEC). Since 1997, these reports have provided overviews of the latest developments in industrial relations and working conditions across the EU and Norway. The series may include recent ad hoc articles written by members of the NEC.
Eurofound’s work on COVID-19 examines the far-reaching socioeconomic implications of the pandemic across Europe as they continue to impact living and working conditions. A key element of the research is the e-survey, launched in April 2020, with five rounds completed at different stages during 2020, 2021 and 2022. This is complemented by the inclusion of research into the ongoing effects of the pandemic in much of Eurofound’s other areas of work.
Eurofound's representativeness studies are designed to allow the European Commission to identify the ‘management and labour’ whom it must consult under article 154 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). This series consists of studies of the representativeness of employer and worker organisations in various sectors.
This series reports on developments in minimum wage rates across the EU, including how they are set and how they have developed over time in nominal and real terms. The series explores where there are statutory minimum wages or collectively agreed minimum wages in the Member States, as well as minimum wage coverage rates by gender.
The European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) launched in 1990 and is carried out every five years, with the latest edition in 2015. It provides an overview of trends in working conditions and quality of employment for the last 30 years. It covers issues such as employment status, working time duration and organisation, work organisation, learning and training, physical and psychosocial risk factors, health and safety, work–life balance, worker participation, earnings and financial security, work and health, and most recently also the future of work.
Eurofound’s Flagship report series 'Challenges and prospects in the EU' comprise research reports that contain the key results of multiannual research activities and incorporate findings from different related research projects. Flagship reports are the major output of each of Eurofound’s strategic areas of intervention and have as their objective to contribute to current policy debates.
Eurofound’s European Company Survey (ECS) maps and analyses company policies and practices which can have an impact on smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, as well as the development of social dialogue in companies. This series consists of outputs from the ECS 2019, the fourth edition of the survey. The survey was first carried out in 2004–2005 as the European Survey on Working Time and Work-Life Balance.
This series reports on and updates latest information on the involvement of national social partners in policymaking. The series analyses the involvement of national social partners in the implementation of policy reforms within the framework of social dialogue practices, including their involvement in elaborating the National Reform Programmes (NRPs).