The revelation in late June 1997 that Ireland's largest union, the Services,
Industrial, Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU), is aiming to secure an
additional 2% in either pay or other benefits, on top of the combined basic
and "local" increases of 9.25% in the three-year national /Partnership 2000/
agreement (IE9702103F ), has come as a shock to employers. What the union
describes as "strong" or "profitable" companies are targeted in a strategy
document prepared for officials and shop stewards.
In the Netherlands, trade unions were originally poorly represented at
workplace level, where works councils have traditionally been viewed as the
appropriate forum for representing employees' interests. Although works
councils and trade unions are cooperating to an increasing degree, this has
not progressed without tension. For a long time, workplace-level union
structure has been (and still is) a rather touchy issue. To address this, in
April 1997 the bipartite Labour Foundation published several new
recommendations concerning union structure at workplace level.
The SEFES and PIMEC employers' organisations agreed in July 1997 to merge,
creating a single association that will represent small and medium-sized
enterprises in Catalonia. The new association will be called PIMEC-SEFES,
will represent more than 45,000 companies and 111 employers' unions and
associations, employing 340,000 workers.
On 23 July 1997, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a Directive
to transpose the social partners' framework agreement on part-time work into
European law. The agreement was signed on 6 June 1997 by the European Trade
Union Confederation (ETUC), the Union of Industrial and Employers'
Confederations of Europe (UNICE) and the European Centre of Enterprises with
Public Participation and of Enterprises of General Economic Interest (CEEP)
(EU9706131F ). This is the second time that an agreement reached by the
European social partners has been submitted to the Council for adoption,
following the European framework agreement on parental leave (a Directive to
implement which was adopted in June 1996). The aims of the new agreement are
to prevent discrimination against part-time workers and to facilitate the
development of part-time work at Member State level.
As the debate continues over the need to treat employees as valued assets,
the MSF survey of employees, published on 11 July 1997, indicates that within
companies there is a very wide divide between management and other staff. The
table below shows the extent to which separate, and better, facilities and
conditions are provided for senior managers
In July 1997, the German subsidiary of the US-based computer manufacturer
Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) struck a new company collective agreement
with the metalworkers' trade union Industriegewerkschaft Metall (IG Metall),
and a new works agreement with the DEC works council. The company agreement
provides for the application of the sectoral collective wage agreements of
the Bavarian metalworking industry, including the provisions regarding the
pay structure and the grading system, to all 2,700 DEC employees.
Furthermore, the agreement is the first in the metalworking to abolish the
distinction between white-collar and blue-collar workers. All employees at
DEC are to be allocated to the different pay groups by 1 January 1999. The
works agreement foresees the introduction of performance-related pay for all
employees working in the sales department. Both agreements contain a status
quo clause  (Besitzstandsklausel).
In mid-July 1997, the system of workers' participation was at crisis point in
the Electrolux-Zanussi group. Negotiations broke down between trade unions
and the company management board over maintaining the agreements which -
through joint committees at both factory and group level - had enabled the
creation of one of the most advanced models of participation in Europe
The agreement between LO and AC comes as a reaction to the need for fewer
organisational disputes over boundaries and more cooperation with a view to
improving the service to their members. At a press conference, the LO
president,Hans Jensen, and the AC president,Søren Vang Rasmussen, pointed
out that the main objective of the new agreement is to ensure and safeguard
employees' influence on the development of Danish society. Both recognise the
growing need to speak with only one voice on a number of issues. One of these
issues is the need to upgrade and to meet the increasing demand for qualified
labour in Denmark. In this respect the two confederations will initiate two
joint projects - one aimed at forecasting developments which are likely to
characterise the labour market in the near future, and the other considering
the future need for further education and retraining.
The collective agreement recently approved in the insurance sector provides
for a reduction of 10 minutes in the working week in 1997 and a further 20
minutes in 1998. Henceforth, weekly working hours will be below the 36
established by law across this sector for many years. The agreement, however,
lays down two particular types of working pattern, relaxing a rather rigid
traditional system to adapt it to new commercial policies:
In his general policy statement to the National Assembly in June 1997,
France's new Prime Minister announced the decision to close the Superphoenix
fast breeder reactor, drawing protests from trade unions.
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).