In May 2003, a new coalition government of the Christian Democrats and two
liberal parties, VVD and D66, took office in the Netherlands. The parties'
coalition agreement provides for major cutbacks in public spending, largely
targeted on social security expenditure. The trade unions are fiercely
opposed to the proposed measures.
In spring 2003, Alstom, the French-based engineering multinational, announced
a major Europe-wide restructuring plan which includes stringent cuts in its
activities. The group may be selling off its shipbuilding division and
announced job losses in its power and transport infrastructure divisions at
various works council meetings in April, May and June. There have been fierce
reactions from trade unions in France, while the Alstom European Works
Council has brought a court case.
In a judgment issued in late May 2003, a Greek court ruled the dismissals of
many workers at Athenian Paper Mills SA (Softex) to be illegal, as redundancy
legislation had not been observed. It stated that the workers are thus
entitled to retroactive compensation for lost pay from the date they were
made redundant in 2002 up to the date of the court ruling.
A number of Greek court rulings issued in April-June 2003 have focused on the
issue of workers who are employed to meet the standing needs of employers for
long periods under successive fixed-term employment contracts. The courts
have upheld these workers' cases and converted their fixed-term contracts
into open-ended contracts, in the light of the 1999 EU fixed-term work
An agreement signed by management and the workers' commission at the VW
Autoeuropa car plant in Portugal has prevented 570 redundancies among the
3,200 employees or lengthy shutdowns, threatened as a result of a fall in
production. Under a new 'time account', scheme, workers will forgo a 3.3% pay
rise in 2003 and convert it into 10 days off per year, which will be taken on
days when the plant is shut down. The agreement came into effect in June
In May 2003, Confindustria, Italy’s main employers’ association, held its
annual assembly. Its president, Antonio D’Amato, addressed some key issues
in his address, including the reform of the pension system, Italy’s
economic recovery, the tax burden, welfare reform, labour market reform, the
public administration, the resources to be allocated to research, and
A package of major revisions of labour law has been coming into force
gradually in Poland since its adoption in 2002. From 1 July 2003, new rules
will apply to many aspects of collective redundancies, including their
definition and severance pay entitlements. Furthermore, the special
protection against dismissal and detrimental treatment provided to trade
union activists is to be subject to new limitations.
The Trade Unions’ Cooperation Forum (Szakszervezetek Együttműködési
Fóruma, SZEF ), the dominant trade union organisation in the public
service and civil administration sector - and arguably the biggest Hungarian
trade union confederation with approximately 300,000 active members
(HU0206102N ) - held its third congress on 25-26 May 2003 in Budapest.
In February 2003, trade unions and employers' organisations in the Polish
construction sector reached agreement on a minimum wage rate for 2003, which
is 50% above the national statutory minimum wage. The deal is seen as an
important development in industrial relations in the industry.
/Industrial restructuring is a striking feature of Europe's economic
landscape today. There is wide agreement among employees, social partner
organisations and policymakers at all levels that the way industrial
restructuring is managed can, and must be improved. A rich body of policy
initiatives, conceptual material and practical experience is available,
identifying the main issues and challenges governing industrial
restructuring. This EMCC dossier aims at presenting a selection of relevant
data sources in a systematic way. It reveals the principles of, and various
approaches to, corporate restructuring. A series of links provide access to a
wide variety of relevant information sources./
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.
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, conducted in three rounds – in April and July 2020 and in March 2021. This is complemented by the inclusion of research into the ongoing effects of the pandemic in much of Eurofound’s other areas of work.
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.
Eurofound's representativness 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 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.
While the EU is considered to be a global leader in gender equality, it is not yet a reality for millions of Europeans given the different dynamics in the Member States. The EU Gender Equality Strategy 2020–2025 acknowledges the slow speed of progress and outlines key actions to promote gender equality. Have all countries improved their performance? Which countries have been able to dramatically reduce gender inequality? Which countries lag behind?
The European Green Deal features high on Member State agendas. However, there are concerns that the necessary changes to climate policy may have undesirable socioeconomic consequences, such as regressive distributional effects and increased inequality. This report attempts to identify those policies where there is a significant risk involved and aims to provide guidance on how negative distributional risk can be mitigated.
Based on data from the European Company Survey 2019, this policy brief examines the characteristics of innovative companies and explores the types of workplace practices that are significantly associated with establishments' likelihood of introducing innovation. It also investigates differences between workplace practices of innovative and non-innovative companies. Additionally, data gathered through case studies analyse the role of workplace practices in different phases of the innovation process.
Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, a high demand for labour and low unemployment levels made labour shortages one of the key policy concerns in the EU. Even where there is persistent and rising unemployment, individual countries, sectors and occupations are experiencing labour shortages, which in some instances have been accentuated by COVID-19. This report explores various approaches to measuring labour shortages and maps national policy debates around the issue.
The issue of regional convergence and whether disadvantaged regions are catching up with wealthier regions continues to attract enormous attention in the policy debate. This report presents the findings of an investigation into the evolution of social imbalances across EU regions over time, based on indicators including unemployment, social exclusion and poverty. It also examines various aspects of the relationship between growth, regional disparities and interpersonal inequalities.
This report investigates the convergence of Member States in various dimensions of living conditions. Indicators are drawn from the European Quality of Life Surveys and other surveys. The analysis pays special attention to particular subgroups such as young people and women. The analysis also investigates the key drivers of convergence in living conditions.
This report examines the labour market changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected sectors and occupations quite differently. It identifies those labour market categories most exposed to negative labour market outcomes. It analyses how differences in confinement and public health approaches may have contributed to different outcomes. It addresses previous assessments of the extent of occupational ‘teleworkability’ and of the sectoral impact of confinement rules. The report draws on EU Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS) data for its analysis.
Digital technologies have made it possible for many workers to carry out their work anytime and anywhere, with consequent advantages and disadvantages. Disadvantages, for remote workers and teleworkers in particular, include the risk to health and well-being linked to long working hours. To address this issue, there have been calls for the ‘right to disconnect’. This report includes case studies that chart the implementation and impact of the right to disconnect at workplace level.
This report examines people's optimism about the future, for themselves and for others, and the extent to which it varies depending on one's social situation and perceptions of the quality of society. The study includes an analysis of the relationships between people’s perceptions of fairness and objective indicators of their social and economic situation and living standards.
This study presents policy-relevant findings on differential pay rates for men and women at occupational level. Previous research has underlined that the gender pay gap is biggest – and has been slowest to narrow – in well-paid jobs requiring professional qualifications. These are also jobs in which the female worker share is increasing relatively fast. The report maps the extent of the gender pay gap across the job-wage distribution, taking into account the shifting gender composition of specific sectors, occupations and jobs.