The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) announced in April 1997 that
"absenteeism" - the non-attendance of workers who are expected to be at work
- had cost UK business GBP 12 billion in 1996; an average of GBP 533 for
every employee. Just prior to the CBI announcement, the Manufacturing,
Science, Finance (MSF) trade union had announced the results of a survey
which highlighted the lack of a "feel-good" factor among employees due to
increasing job insecurity ("Union survey suggest little 'feel good effect' in
reality", MSF press release (8 April 1997)). These kinds of surveys have
elements in common, yet few acknowledge or even see what the linkages are.
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.
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  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  or not.
Just one week after the German social partners and Government found a
compromise on the future development of the German mining industry
(DE9703104F ) the Ruhr region (one of Germany's oldest industrial areas)
was again the focus of social conflict. On 18 March 1997 the second-largest
German steel producer, Krupp-Hoesch, announced plans for a hostile takeover
of its main competitor, Thyssen. Krupp-Hoesch made an offer to the Thyssen
shareholders to buy their shares for DEM 435 each, which was about 25% higher
than the current quotation on the German stock exchange. The president of
Krupp-Hoesch, Gerhard Cromme, stated that the acquisition of Thyssen would
create a lot of synergy effects, and could help to improve the international
competitiveness of the German steel industry.
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.
Shortages of jobs, alternating periods of employment and unemployment and
lack of job security are the main features of the current employment
situation for young people in Spain. For some of them this is a temporary
situation, but others will find it hard to escape. However, the reform of
labour market procedures that is currently being put before Parliament may go
some way towards improving working conditions.
After the Brussels Industrial tribunal (BE9704208N ), on 4 April it was a
French court's turn to find Renault's management guilty of disobeying the law
in a ruling which could well postpone the closure of the Vilvorde plant.
Government plans to amend Finnish legislation to bring it into line with EU
equality law have recently proved controversial with the Finnish
Confederation of Salaried Employees (STTK). Following negotiations, further
discussion of the issue has been postponed to autumn 1997.
On 8 and 9 April 1997 the Confederation of German Trade Unions (Deutscher
Gewerkschaftsbund, DGB) invited representatives from the trade unions,
employers associations and main political parties to an "Employment summit".
Just one year after the failure of the "Employment Alliance" (DE9702202F
), DGB aimed to renew the debate among the social partners and politicians
on how to create new employment in Germany. In January 1996 the social
partners and the Government had signed a joint statement in which all parties
agreed on the central aim of halving unemployment by 2000. Since then,
unemployment figures have not improved at all. On the contrary, in March 1997
nearly 4.5 million people were officially registered as unemployed - the
highest March figure since 1945.
Some 25,000 blue-collar workers are covered by the agreement between the
Employers' Association of the Swedish Wood Products Industry and the Swedish
Wood Industry Workers' Union, reached on 4 April 1997. All employees receive
across-the-board minimum pay increases of SEK 1 per hour. In addition, the
local parties have SEK 0.95 an hour per worker at their disposal to allocate
on an individual basis. The settlement represents an overall increase in pay
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.
The European Restructuring Monitor has reported on the employment impact of large-scale business restructuring since 2002. This series includes its restructuring-related databases (events, support instruments and legislation) as well as case studies and publications.
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).
This series reports on the new forms of employment emerging across Europe that are driven by societal, economic and technological developments and are different from traditional standard or non-standard employment in a number of ways. This series explores what characterises these new employment forms and what implications they have for working conditions and the labour market.
The European Company Survey (ECS) is carried out every four to five years since its inception in 2004–2005, with the latest edition in 2019. The survey is designed to provide information on workplace practices to develop and evaluate socioeconomic policy in the EU. It covers issues around work organisation, working time arrangements and work–life balance, flexibility, workplace innovation, employee involvement, human resource management, social dialogue, and most recently also skills use, skills strategies and digitalisation.
Automation and digitisation technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), are undergoing a rapid evolution. This impacts working conditions in a variety of ways and raises a host of new ethical concerns. In recent times, the policy debate surrounding these concerns has become more prominent and has increasingly focused on AI. Key EU policy developments, especially in relation to AI, have shaped the policy debate in many EU Member States, and in some instances they have led to the adoption of new policy initiatives that address these concerns in the context of work and employment.
Every year, Eurofound compiles a report summarising the key developments in minimum wages across EU countries. The report explains how minimum wages are set and describes the role of social partners, covering the evolution of statutory rates, collectively agreed wages and the national debates on these issues.
As part of a process to collect information on essential services, the European Commission (DG EMPL) requested Eurofound to provide input on certain aspects of existing and planned measures in the Member States to improve access to essential services, in reference to Principle 20 of the European Pillar of Social Rights. The scope of the exercise included energy services, public transport and digital communications, and the focus was on people at risk of poverty or social exclusion (in practice, people on low incomes in most cases).
The civil aviation sector has been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is one of the most severe crises the sector has ever experienced, giving rise to a number of significant challenges for companies and workers alike. This study will explore the role of social dialogue and collective bargaining in how the sector is adapting to the pandemic. What kinds of changes have been introduced, either through social dialogue or collective bargaining? Are the changes temporary or permanent?
This report investigates the practical implementation of the European Works Council (EWC) Directive at company level. It explores the challenges faced by existing EWCs and provides examples of identified solutions and remaining issues from the point of view of both workers and management. The report looks at the way that EWCs meet the requirements of the EWC Directive in terms of establishing processes of information and consultation.
This report will map the existing regulations on telework in European Union Member States, including in legislation and collective agreements. It will present the most recent changes to these regulations and shed light on how the future of (tele)work could be regulated at both national and EU level, in order to improve working conditions in telework arrangements and reduce the risks associated with telework and with specific ways of working remotely.
This report explores the association between skills use and skills strategies and establishment performance, and how other workplace practices, in terms of work organisation, human resources management and employee involvement, can impact on this. It looks at how skills shortages can be addressed, at least in part, by creating an environment in which employees are facilitated and motivated to make better use of the skills they already have. This further supports the business case for a more holistic approach to management.
The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have varied across sectors, occupations and categories of worker (for instance, according to gender, age or employment status). Hours worked have declined the most in sectors such as accommodation services and food and beverage services, and in occupations heavily reliant on in-person interaction, such as sales work. At the same time, it’s in these sectors that labour shortages have become increasingly evident as labour markets have begun to normalise.
This report focuses on trends and developments in collective bargaining that were evident from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. It examines potential new strategic approaches and priorities incorporated in negotiation agendas, as well as collective bargaining practices and coordination at sector and company levels in the private sector.
This policy brief will provide an update on upward convergence in the economic, social and institutional dimensions of the European Union, as outlined in the European Pillar of Social Rights and its accompanying Social Scoreboard.