The publication of an assessment commissioned by the National Assembly's
Finance Commission, and the campaign for the May/June 1997 general election,
have reopened the debate in France on the content and efficiency of the
Robien law, which seeks to encourage working time reductions and
reorganisation to create or save jobs. Politicians, economists, employers and
unions remain divided whilst the number of collective agreements at company
level based on the law is increasing.
Non-wage labour costs are those categories of the enterprise's total labour
costs comprising other than direct compensation. Today, non-wage labour costs
account for a very substantial and rising proportion of total labour costs.
Since increasing labour costs tend to encourage substitution away from labour
to more capital-intensive methods of production, rising non-wage labour costs
are an impediment to job creation. Furthermore, some non-wage labour costs -
such as social security contributions - drive a wedge between the labour
costs that companies pay and the money that workers receive, thus making
collective bargaining more difficult. Via unit labour costs - nominal labour
costs divided by real value added - non-wage labour costs are likely to have
some effect on companies' location decisions.
The findings of a Eurostat study entitled /Statistics in focus: income
distribution and poverty in the EU 12 - 1993/, published on 14 May 1997, show
that one out of six citizens and households in the 12 pre-1995 EU member
states live below the "poverty threshold". In more than half of these
countries, the figure was even higher - one in five. Even more alarmingly,
over one-third of poor households were working. These findings are drawn from
the first wave of statistics generated from the European Community Household
Panel (ECHP). The ECHP consists of a sample of 60,500 households selected
randomly in the 12 member states, using a harmonised questionnaire. This data
does not allow for a comparison of social change over time, but does provide
important information on the magnitude and dimensions of poverty and income
disparity in the European Union in the early 1990s. The figures show that
there are approximately 57 million socially excluded individuals in EU, a
problem affecting both more and less affluent member states.
May 1997 saw Unilever defending its pro-European stance to shareholders,
while the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) was also signalling its
willingness to work with the trade unions prior to the adoption of European
The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO), the largest employee
confederation in Norway, held its four-yearly congress on 10-16 May 1997. The
most important issues were the question of continuing with the "Solidarity
Alternative", and the adoption of the Action Programme for the period
1997-2001. A discussion also took place between LO unions regarding the
confederation's policy towards the privatisation of public activities
(services), while the vice-presidency election received considerable
Recent months have seen an intensifying and unresolved dispute over pensions
at Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB), including 14 days of strike
activity starting on 21 February 1997. This is the first time in four years
that all the unions represented on the TMB workers' committee have acted
jointly to claim what they understand as a right laid down in previous
At a time when public opinion seems to be losing interest in the campaign for
the May/June 1997 parliamentary elections (if opinion polls published in the
middle of May are to be believed, less than half the electorate said they
were interested in the debates and manifestoes) the trade unions and
employers' associations, while not telling their members which way to vote,
are voicing their main demands and preparing the forthcoming social agenda.
Presenting its 1996 results on 6 May 1997, Deutz AG, the German machinery and
tractor maker which almost collapsed last year, also publicised information
on the employees' contribution to its 1996 rescue package. The group is
undergoing a radical restructuring after a crisis last year, caused by big
losses on cement plants in Saudi Arabia. The deal was struck in May/June 1996
between management and the group works council  and included the
The high-level expert group on worker involvement was established in 1996
with the aim of developing solutions to break the 25-year deadlock on
European Commission proposals containing clauses on worker involvement, and
in particular, the European Company Statute (ECS). The Commission has
repeatedly stressed the importance of such a statute, enabling the
incorporation of companies at EU level, in order to improve the
competitiveness of European companies. Such proposals have long remained
blocked in the Council of Ministers, largely because of concerns from
countries with advanced employee participation systems which fear that the
ECS could be used by companies to circumvent national legislation in this
area. Similarly, a solution would have to avoid imposing foreign models of
employee representation upon member states where there is currently no
provision for the appointment of worker representatives to the boards of
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 publication consists of individual country reports on working life during 2021 for 28 countries – the 27 EU Member States and Norway. The country reports summarise evidence on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on working life based on national research and survey results during 2021. They outline the policy responses of governments and social partners in their efforts to cushion the socioeconomic effects and include a focus on policy areas related to adapting to the pandemic and the return to work.
Automation and digitisation technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), are undergoing a rapid evolution. This impacts working conditions in a variety of ways and raises a host of new ethical concerns. In recent times, the policy debate surrounding these concerns has become more prominent and has increasingly focused on AI. Key EU policy developments, especially in relation to AI, have shaped the policy debate in many EU Member States, and in some instances they have led to the adoption of new policy initiatives that address these concerns in the context of work and employment.
Every year, Eurofound compiles a report summarising the key developments in minimum wages across EU countries. The report explains how minimum wages are set and describes the role of social partners, covering the evolution of statutory rates, collectively agreed wages and the national debates on these issues.
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).
The civil aviation sector has been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is one of the most severe crises the sector has ever experienced, giving rise to a number of significant challenges for companies and workers alike. 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?
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.
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.
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.
The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have varied across sectors, occupations and categories of worker (for instance, according to gender, age or employment status). Hours worked have declined the most in sectors such as accommodation services and food and beverage services, and in occupations heavily reliant on in-person interaction, such as sales work. At the same time, it’s in these sectors that labour shortages have become increasingly evident as labour markets have begun to normalise.
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.