- 9 September 2021
On 27 May 2003, representatives of all trade unions affiliated to the the
Confederation of German Trade Unions (Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund, DGB)
signed a package ofnational cross-sector collective agreements  for
temporary agency workers with the Federal Association of Temporary Employment
Agencies (Bundesverband Zeitarbeit Personal-Dienstleistungen, BZA), whose
members include some of the major companies in the sector. Thepackage 
consists of a general framework collective agreement on employment conditions
(Manteltarifvertrag) - the final version of which was signed on 11 June 2003
- a framework collective agreement on pay grades (Entgeltrahmentarifvertrag)
and a collective agreement on pay (Entgelttarifvertrag). Two days later, on
29 May 2003, a similarpackage  of collective agreements was agreed by the
DGB affiliates and a second employers' association, the Association of German
Temporary Employment Agencies (Interessengemeinschaft Deutscher
Zeitarbeitsunternehmen, iGZ), representing a number of small and medium-sized
July 2003 saw a wave of protests by trade unions represented at Polish
National Railways (PKP) against the planned closure of loss-making local
services. Faced with the unions' threat of a general rail strike, PKP
management and the government agreed to cut the number of services to be
axed. However, the continuing restructuring of PKP, which is facing major
financial difficulties, suggests that further unrest cannot be ruled out.
A study published jointly in June 2003 by the Research Institute for the
Finnish Economy (Elinkeinoelämän tutkimuslaitos, ETLA) and the Labour
Institute for Economic Research (Palkansaajien tutkimuslaitos) examines views
on the Finnish wage bargaining system. The study, based on a questionnaire
survey, asked employers and three categories of employees - blue-collar
workers, white-collar workers and higher-level workers - about their views on
the present system and its future development. The same questions were also
put to private and public sector social partner organisations. The questions
dealt with issues including local bargaining, profit-sharing, taxation and
social security. The firms concerned were examined in terms of 12 variables,
including size, sector, ownership, international activities, workforce age
structure and share of women and temporary employees in the workforce.
The total number of women in employment (employees and self-employed)
increased by more than 1.7 million in the period from 1995 to 2002, according
to a study providing an overview of major labour market trends for the whole
of Germany since unification in 1990, published by the German Federal
Statistical Office (Statistisches Bundesamt Deutschland, Destatis) in July
2003 (German labour market trends. In the spotlight , Destatis, 2003). At
the same time, the share of women in overall employment has been growing
constantly since the mid-1990s. The report argues that these increases
reflect a general trend towards a decreasing gap between men and women in the
German labour market, although the total female employment rate has not yet
reached the male level. However, data from the 2002 EU Labour Force Survey
indicate that regional discrepancies still prevail: in the western part of
the country, about 46% of women aged between 15 and 65 were in employment (ie
either self-employed or an employee), compared with 61% of men; while in the
east of Germany, this difference was less pronounced with some 44% of the
female population and 53% of the male population in employment.
Following the election of the Labour Party government in May 1997, the new
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, signaled a clear shift in UK
policy towards the European single currency in a major speech to Parliament
in October 1997. Whereas the previous, 'eurosceptic' Conservative Party
government had negotiated an 'opt-out' from the final stage of European
Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) as part of the Treaty on European Union, Mr
Brown indicated that the Labour government was committed to the principle of
joining the European single currency, but that there had been insufficient
convergence between the economies of the UK and those of prospective members
of the euro area (UK9802102F ). Thereafter, the main features of the
government’s policy towards EMU were that:
In July 2003, a large-scale strike occurred at the Belgian Post Office,
triggered by the implementation of a new system for organising delivery
rounds, which is one of 10 measures being introduced by management in the
context of the EU-wide liberalisation of the postal sector. At the end of the
month, trade unions and management concluded a pre-agreement that halted
industrial action until mid-September, when the outcome of further
negotiations will be known.
There are currently almost 10,000 private security companies employing some
600,000 people within the existing borders of the EU, and these figures will
be roughly doubled when the Union is enlarged. A European-level social
dialogue process has been underway in the sector for around a decade
(EU9906179F ), with a formal sectoral dialogue committee in place since
1999, resulting in the conclusion of a number of joint texts by the
Confederation of European Security Services (CoESS), representing employers
in the industry, and UNI-Europa, the European regional organisation of Union
Network International (UNI), representing trade unions. On 18 July 2003, the
two organisations signed a code of conduct , reflecting a belief that the
rules governing their sector need to be harmonised across the EU and that
this will be particularly important when 10 new Member States join the EU in
May 2004. At the moment, national regulations and practices vary widely
between Member States and are sometimes, in the social partners' view,
inadequate or even non-existent, with the result that there are huge
variations in the quality of service provided and that the sector is unable
to take full advantage of European integration.
In the light of the fact that the European Union will admit 10 new Member
States in May 2004, thus enlarging its membership from 15 to 25 countries,
work has been progressing on a revision of the various EU Treaties. The aim
is mainly to streamline the workings of the EU but also to simplify the
Treaties and make the EU more accessible to its citizens. The European
Convention- chaired by Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, the former French
President - was charged with reviewing the Treaties and proposing changes.
The Convention  began its work in February 2002 (EU0305203N  and
EU0201231N ) and concluded it with the presentation of a complete draft of
a new constitutional Treaty in the summer of 2003. A preliminary version of
the draft was submitted to the Thessaloniki European Council meeting in June
2003 (EU0307204F ), after which a final version was published on 10 July
2003 and submitted to the President of the European Council in Rome on 18
Around 500 British Airways (BA) customer service workers, including check-in
and ticket-desk staff, went on strike at the company’s Heathrow hub on 18
July 2003, in protest at the introduction of an automated swipe-card system
for recording their attendance. The strike led to the cancellation or
diversion of more than 500 flights affecting some 100,000 passengers, many of
whom were left stranded at the airport. Staff returned to work after two days
but the disruption continued as the company struggled to reposition aircraft
and crew. Three unions had members involved in the stoppage, the Transport
and General Workers’ Union (TGWU), GMB and Amicus, though the strike was
unofficial and not endorsed by them. There were threats to escalate the
dispute by balloting members for further industrial action. However, talks
between BA and the unions continued until a settlement was reached on 30
On 13 June 2003, after a lengthy negotiating process in which the public
conciliator became involved, the Estonian Hospitals Association (Eesti
Haiglate Liit, EHL ) employers’ organisation and three trade unions -
the Estonian Medical Association (Eesti Arstide Liit, EAL ), the Trade
Union Association of Health Officers of Estonia (Eesti Keskastme
Tervishoiutöötajate Kutseliit, EKTK ) and the Federation of Estonian
Health Care Professionals Unions (Tervishoiutöötajate Ametiühingute Liit,
ETTAL ) - signed a pay agreement for healthcare workers. The main
objective of the agreement is to set minimum wage rates for the various
categories of employee and to harmonise differences in minimum wages between
regions and different types of hospitals. According to the new agreement, the
hourly minimum wages were to increase to EEK 50 for doctors (a 25% increase),
EEK 25 for nurses and EEK 16 for care assistants (an 18.5% increase) from 1
July 2003, assuming that the reference prices for medical services increased
simultaneously. This increase in reference prices would enable the Estonian
Health Insurance Fund  (Eesti Haigekassa) to find the additional money
required for the agreed wage increases.
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.
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.
Access to essential services for people on low incomes: Energy, public transport and digital communicationsForthcoming
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).
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 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.
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.
The financial services sector is pertinent for studying the impact of digitalisation, as the main ‘raw material’ of the sector is digitally stored and processed. Process automation in the sector is likely to lead to significant job losses over the next 10 years, as the high street bank presence declines and the online bank presence increasingly accounts for a higher share of overall activity. Such trends have already been identified in bank restructurings captured in Eurofound’s European Restructuring Monitor.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the electricity sector. Their relative representativeness legitimises their right to be consulted, their role and effective participation in the European sectoral social dialogue and their capacity to negotiate agreements. The aim of this Eurofound study on representativeness is to identify the relevant national and European social partner organisations in the electricity sector in the EU Member States.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the gas sector. Their relative representativeness legitimises their right to be consulted, their role and effective participation in the European sectoral social dialogue and their capacity to negotiate agreements. The aim of this Eurofound’s study on representativeness is to identify the relevant national and European social partner organisations in the gas sector in the EU Member States.
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.
The hospital sector has been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hospitals and their workers are on the frontline in the fight against the virus, and they face a number of significant challenges in terms of resources, work organisation and working conditions. 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?