February 1997 saw a major strike in Spain's road transport sector. The
dispute was well supported, mainly in the north of the country, but was
called off without winning many concessions from the Government.
At the beginning of February the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) set
out its long term priorities for beyond the forthcoming general election. Its
director general, Adair Turner said that "whatever happens between now and
May, there are fundamental issues for business which need attention. The
changing nature of the world in which we do business brings both
opportunities and challenges, and the CBI should be at the heart of change."
The Employment and Labour Market Committee (ELC), established by a Council
Decision on 20 December 1996, held its inaugural meeting in Brussels on 29
January 1997. The ELC was created in response to a request by the European
Council for the setting up of a stable structure to support the work of the
Labour and Social Affairs Council in employment-related matters. This area
has taken on a new dimension in the context of the" European employment
strategy" outlined at the European Council in Essen in December 1994. The ELC
is expected to improve the balance between employment, on the one hand, and
economic and monetary issues, on the other hand, in the European debate. The
new Committee will fulfil a similar role to that of the Economic Policy
Committee which provides advice to the Economics and Financial Affairs
The Austrian Trade Union Federation (Österreichischer Gewerkschaftsbund,
ÖGB) and the Austrian Chamber of the Economy (Wirtschaftskammer Österreich,
WKÖ) agreed the outlines of a reform of the apprenticeship system on 1 March
1997. The precise details are to be agreed in a working group comprising
officials of the social partners, the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of the
Economy, and experts from other, as yet unspecified, organisations.
The statutory minimum wage in Luxembourg has been increased by 3.2% from 1
January 1997, as a result of legislation, and additionally by 2.5% from 1
February 1997, under the terms of an index-linked mechanism.
Following the freezing of civil servants' salaries imposed by the Government
for 1996, the Government announced the convening of pay negotiations which
have been continually put off since the spring of 1996, but which will now
not take place at all.
Employers and unions want to reduce the amount of temporary recruitment and
the number of types of employment contract. They also want to increase their
freedom to negotiate labour market issues through collective bargaining.
These are the key issues in the current debate over a new round of labour
market reforms in Spain.
As the 1 May election date draws nearer, both the Conservative Government and
the main opposition party, Labour, have begun to fight their campaigns by
taking opposite stances on the social policy Agreement annexed to the
Maastricht Treaty on European Union - the so-called "social chapter", from
which the UK has "opted out". In February, the Government launched an attack,
stating that if the Labour Party were to win the general election, its
commitment to "signing up" to the social chapter would cost the UK 500,000
In January 1997, the European Commission adopted a report on the Promotion of
Participation by Employed Persons in Profits and Enterprise Results,
including equity participation (PEPPER II). The report suggests that
profit-sharing schemes lead to higher productivity, whatever method, model
specification and data are used. The macroeconomic situation was found to
have little effect on government or social partner support for such schemes,
but recent debates relating to enhancing productivity and wage flexibility
are stimulating discussions on proposals. However, in most member states,
trade unions can be expected to oppose the use of financial participation
schemes to promote wage flexibility.
In the Works Constitution  Act (Betriebsverfassungsgesetz) of 1972, works
councils  in Germany are given extensive rights of information,
consultation and co-determination . The employer has to provide the works
council with both timely and comprehensive information on all matters related
to the discharge of its functions. In establishments with over 20 employees,
information must be given "in full and in good time" on reductions in
operations and the introduction of new working methods. Consultation rights
cover planned structural alterations to the plant and prospective changes in
equipment and working methods that affect job requirements, all decisions
relating to manpower planning, and individual dismissals.
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.
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.
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.
Platform work – the matching of supply of and demand for paid labour through an online platform or app – is gaining increasing importance in Europe. It has attracted policy attention due to its inherent opportunities and challenges. Across Europe, initiatives have been introduced by governments, social partners and grassroots organisations aimed at harnessing the potential and reducing the risks of this employment form. The areas covered include regulation, representation, advice and information provision, as well as measures addressing social protection, ratings and training.
The European Jobs Monitor tracks changes in employment structure and contributes to the debate about whether European labour markets are polarising or upgrading. The European Jobs Monitor report in 2021 looks in particular at two dimensions of change in labour supply – increased female participation and population/workforce ageing – to show how they can contribute to an understanding of recent changes in employment structure.
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.
While often considered staid, social partner organisations have developed different ways of using technology to communicate with their members, as well as to organise, mobilise and develop both internally, among staff, and externally, vis-à-vis members and the public. This topical update maps current practices in social partner organisations, describes developments in the use of technologies, and outlines the impact on social partner activities and organisation.
What have been the major trends and policy developments regarding digitalisation in Europe? What do we know about the deployment of automation, digitisation and the platform economy? This flagship publication provides an overview of developments in Europe in recent years, as well as mapping the observable or expected effects on employment and working conditions, as well as exploring the implications from a policy perspective.
This report analyses and compares the industrial relations landscape in a number of sectors and activities that form a public service cluster. The report draws on Eurofound’s recent representativeness studies investigating the following sectors: education, human health, central government administration and local and regional government sector (including social services).
The COVID-19 pandemic radically reshaped workplace practices and work organisation across the EU. This report explores changes that occurred as a result of or during the COVID-19 pandemic in areas such as technological transformation, decision-making and remote working. The research sets out to learn from company experiences and measures that have proved critical to keeping businesses running. It aims to inform policymakers, employers and trade unions on how to make businesses, workplaces and workers more resilient in the face of a crisis such as COVID-19.
Following improvements in economic growth and labour market participation after the global financial and economic crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic constitutes a new, unprecedented challenge for the EU. The crisis threatens to pose an existential challenge to the EU’s cohesion and legitimacy. The subject of upward convergence is once again centre stage in the European policy debate. Expanding on work done on this topic in previous years, this flagship report traces developments in economic and social indicators between the economic crisis and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This report captures the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the quality of life of older citizens, including the impact on their well-being, finances, employment and social inclusion. It explores the effects on care use and reliance on other support. The report analyses policy measures that have been implemented in EU Member States that have proven particularly important for the quality of life of older citizens, for example, measures to support independent living.
This report examines the phenomenon of overtime in the EU, providing a comparative description of how it is regulated in EU Member States. It also assesses how contentious the issue can be and investigates the reasons behind the various disputes and debates. Finally, the report attempts to quantify and characterise the share of overtime for which workers are not paid or compensated. The analysis is based on information collected in EU Member States by the Network of Eurofound Correspondents.