- 9 September 2021
In July 2003, the Dutch social partners, represented on the bipartite Labour
Foundation, issued an opinion opposing a proposal for the reform of
dismissals law put forward by a government-appointed committee. The committee
proposed abolishing the system whereby dismissals must be approved in advance
by a public authority. The Foundation argues that the objections raised by
the committee do not outweigh the advantages of the present system, which
keeps costs in check and offers the parties involved a high degree of
certainty and security.
On 8 October 2001, the EU Council of Ministers adopted Council Regulation
(EC) No. 2157/2001  on the Statute for a European Company (or Societas
Europaea, SE) and Council Directive 2001/86/EC  supplementing the Statute
for a European Company with regard to the involvement of employees
(EU0206202F ). Member States must adopt the laws, regulations and
administrative provisions necessary to comply with the Directive by 8 October
2004 (the date that the Regulation, which is directly applicable in the
Member States, comes into force), or ensure by then that management and
labour introduce the required provisions by agreement. The European Company
Statute (ECS) Regulation gives companies the option of forming a European
Company (SE) which can operate on a Europe-wide basis and be governed by
Community law directly applicable in all Member States (rather than national
law). The Directive lays down the employee involvement provisions to apply to
SEs - providing for negotiations between management and employee
representatives in each SE on the arrangements to apply, with a set of
back-up statutory 'standard rules' where no agreement is reached. Involvement
constitutes the information and consultation of employees and, in some cases,
The Union of Wood, Industrial and Building Workers (Træ-Industri-Byg, TIB)
has announced that it will establish an affiliated organisation to recruit as
trade union members self-employed 'sole operators' working in the
construction industry. These sole operators work alone without any employees
and do not meet the conditions to be considered as companies, as all they
provide is their own labour - ie in reality they work as normal wage earners
(they are known as 'arme og ben-firmaer', or 'arms and legs firms'). TIB
estimates that there are around 11,000 such sole operators, and the number is
increasing. According to the union, their presence in the industry results in
'dumping' in terms of prices and safety. Typically, they work at lower wages
than employees covered by a collective agreement, and TIB and the trade union
bargaining cartel in building and construction, (Bygge-, Anlægs- og
Trækartellet, BAT-kartellet) see this as a serious problem. Together the
unions are aiming to combat this phenomenon, both through unionising the more
'serious' of the self-employed sole operators and closing down the less
serious 'arms and legs firms'.
Special 'tripartite sector teams', made up of representatives of the social
partners and government, have been created in Poland since the 1990s to deal
with the problems of selected industries (such as coal mining, metalworking
and power generation) facing restructuring, privatisation and reorganisation.
The teams are responsible for drawing up guidelines on restructuring within
these sectors, including 'social packages' for employees. This article
examines the operation of the tripartite sector teams up until the end of
From 1 July 2003, the Labour Code of the Republic of Hungary was amended by
Act XX of 2003. The modifications include the transposition of five European
Union Directives on: working time (2000/34/EC ); fixed-term work
(1999/70/EC ); part-time work (1997/81/EC ); transfers of undertakings
(2001/23/EC ); and the working time of seafarers (1999/63/EC ).
On 30 April 2003, the centre-right coalition government published a
parliamentary white paper on family policy, in which it recommends changes to
the present regulations on parental leave (St Meld. nr 29 (2002-3) ). The
main objective of the government’s proposals is to encourage men to spend
more time at home with their children. To this end, it proposes to extend the
so-called 'father quota', which is the part of the parental leave period
reserved for the father. It also proposes to improve the compensation level
for self-employed women during parental leave .
Since the coalition government of the conservative People’s Party
(Österreichische Volkspartei, ÖVP) and the populist Freedom Party
(Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, FPÖ) took office for the first time in
February 2000 (it started a second term in February 2003), it has launched
several initiatives to restructure the state-owned Austrian Federal Railways
(Österreichische Bundesbahnen, ÖBB). The government’s aim has been to
reduce the financial burden on the state arising from its legal obligation to
compensate for ÖBB’s deficits. However, so far the two governing parties
have not managed to reach a joint agreement on how to reorganise this public
company. Recent ÖVP plans (presented in January 2003) to transform ÖBB into
a holding company, heading several independently-operating enterprises
specialising in sales, infrastructure, financing, personnel management etc,
were strongly opposed by the Union of Railway Employees (Gewerkschaft der
Eisenbahner, GdE) (AT0302201N ). The union argues that splitting up ÖBB
would pave the way for the privatisation and sell-off of the company’s
divisions one by one. With GdE threatening industrial action in the event of
ÖBB being dismantled (AT0211201N ), restructuring measures such as those
planned by ÖVP and – in principle – supported by the management have
hitherto been blocked.
On 13 August 2003, the police raided the Fredericia shipyard and seven
illegal workers – five Polish and two Philippine nationals – were
arrested. This action was the result of several months’ investigation based
on information from an alleged organiser of a network of illegal workers. The
raid followed a tip-off from the local branch of the General Workers’ Union
(Specialarbejderforbundet i Danmark, SiD) which had discovered that illegal
workers employed by a subcontractor were to work on the surface treatment of
a ship. The illegal workers at Fredericia were paid around DKK 45 per hour,
irrespective of the time of the day and the day of the week when they were
working. This is about one-third of the wage paid to Danish workers under the
relevant collective agreements.
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.
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 is carried out in the context of the three-year pilot project (2021–2023), ‘Role of the minimum wage in establishing the Universal Labour Guarantee’, mandated to Eurofound by the European Commission. Its focus is module 3 of the project, investigating minimum wages and other forms of pay for the self-employed. Out of concern for the challenging conditions faced by certain groups of self-employed workers, some Member States have established or are in discussions about proposing some statutory forms of minimum pay for selected categories of the self-employed.
Representativeness of the European social partner organisations: Civil aviation sector (ground staff, ATC + mobile workers)Forthcoming
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the civil aviation 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.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the food and drinks 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 food and drinks sector in the EU Member States.
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 report offers the most up to date insight on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the work and life of Europeans over the last two years. The main focus is on Eurofound’s e-survey Living, working and COVID-19 which was launched on 9 April 2020 just after the onset of the crisis. Through five rounds of the survey (two in 2020, two in 2021 and one in 2022), the range of questions changed to match the evolving situation and to understand the effects on the everyday lives of citizens and workers in the EU27.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the textiles and clothing 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.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the professional football 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 professional football sector in the EU Member States.
This report explores the drivers of economic and social convergence in Europe, using a selected set of economic and social indicators to examine trends in the performance of individual Member States. It also investigates what role the Economic and Monetary Union plays in convergence, particularly in southern and eastern Member States. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on convergence is analysed and initial conclusions are drawn about the impact of EU recovery packages and their ability to prevent divergence.
The COVID-19 crisis has increased inequality between social groups in health, housing, employment, income and well-being. While a small part of society was able to hold on to or increase its wealth, other groups such as women, young people, older people, people with disabilities, low- and middle-income earners and those with young children were acutely affected by the pandemic. Drawing on current research on how to best measure multidimensional inequality, this report highlights recent trends in inequality in the context of the COVID-19 crisis.
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered an extraordinary level of provision of social services across the EU. Healthcare and care providers carried much of the burden and, together with essential services, played a crucial role in getting citizens through the crisis. This report explores how public services adapted to the new reality and what role was played by the digital transformation of services. The aim is to contribute to the documentation and analysis of changes in funding, delivery and use of healthcare and social services during the pandemic.