Since the early 1990s, the once strategically important Polish armaments
industry entered a period of decline, faced with shrinking domestic demand,
the loss of export markets, technological backwardness and excess employment,
along with only limited restructuring. However, the social partners and
government have cooperated successfully in tripartite efforts to manage the
reduction and restructuring of employment in the sector. In 2003 a number of
developments, such as new orders and an 'offset' programme accompanying the
purchase of new planes for the Polish air force, indicate that the future
prospects of the arms industry may be somewhat brighter.
In August 2003, a law was passed in Greece which provides for public sector
organisations to recruit unemployed people and other groups in a difficult
labour market position on part-time, fixed-term contracts in order to provide
certain social services, such as home care. The legislation has been
criticised by the Confederation of Public Servants (ADEDY).
In July 2003, the Greek Corps of Labour Inspectors (SEPE) issued its annual
progress report for 2002. It finds an increasing use of overtime, despite
recent legislation aimed at reducing it, and of flexible forms of employment,
such as part-time work. With regard to accidents at work, the overall number
has risen, but there has been a small decrease in fatal accidents .
On 14 September 2003, Sweden held a referendum on whether the country should
join the euro single currency. All political parties had ended their
campaigns before the date of the referendum following the murder a few days
earlier of the Foreign Minister, Anna Lindh, an event which had left the
nation in shock. The government stressed the importance of all citizens
voting in the poll, in the circumstances, and the turn-out proved to be 82.1%
of those entitled to vote. Only in 1994, when the Swedes voted to join the
European Union, had the turn-out in a referendum been higher, at 83.3%.
The Ministry of Labour's report on collective bargaining in France in 2002,
published in June 2003, finds that there was general stability in the number
of agreements concluded. There was a slight increase in the amount of
intersectoral bargaining, while a rise in the number of national-level
sectoral agreements was offset by a decline in sectoral bargaining at
subnational level. With regard to company-level bargaining, changes in the
data-collection methods make comparison with previous years virtually
A major law on pension reform was finally passed by the French parliament on
24 July 2003, after lengthy debate in both houses. Although the majority of
the government's bill - which included changes agreed with a number of trade
unions - was retained, many amendments were made. Opposition to the law
remains strong among unions and the political opposition.
In autumn 2003, an economic downturn has led to stagnation in the French
labour market and an upswing in unemployment, which is nearing 10%. Job
losses are increasing as bankruptcies and redundancy plans become commonplace
throughout much of the economy, with some regions particularly hard hit.
Belgium's next round of four-yearly 'social elections' of employee
representatives on works councils and committees for prevention and
protection at the workplace will take place in May 2004. This article sets
out the election timetable and procedure and examines a number of changes
made since the last elections in 2000 .
In July 2003, the Collective Agreement Archive (Tarifarchiv) of the Institute
for Economic and Social Research (Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliches
Institut, WSI) within the Hans Böckler Foundation published its interim
report on the 2003 collective bargaining round - WSI publishes such
interim reports every year (DE0207203F ). The study evaluates all
collective agreements concluded by trade unions affiliated to the
Confederation of German Trade Unions (Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund, DGB) in
the first half of 2003. These collective agreements cover 3.6 million
employees, or 17% of all employees covered by collective agreements. However,
many sectors - such as metalworking, banking, construction and the postal
service - do not have a pay bargaining round in 2003 because collective
agreements concluded in 2002 already fixed pay increases for 2003.
On 11 August 2003, the Minister for Labour Affairs, Frank Fahey, published a
consultation paper  on how the EU information and consultation Directive
(2002/14/EC)  (EU0204207F ) should be transposed into Irish law.
Interested parties had until 24 September 2003 to make submissions to the
government, which intends to publish an Information and Consultation of
Employees Bill in the summer of 2004, with a view to enactment by March 2005.
This is the transposition deadline set by the Directive, though there are
transitional arrangements for Member States, such as Ireland, currently
without 'general, permanent and statutory' information and consultation
systems, allowing these countries to phase in the application of the
Directive to smaller undertakings up to March 2008
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.
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 a number of collective labour disputes involving industrial action in EU Member States, Norway and the UK. It provides a comprehensive study of each labour dispute, including information on industrial action events and the context for each dispute, as well as the relevant topics, actors, attempts at resolution and outcomes. Different types of collective labour disputes and their occurrence in various countries and sectors are presented, indicating how they are linked to different industrial relations regimes.
Social dialogue lies at the heart of the EU treaties and governance. Social partners are core stakeholders who can assess policy needs and contribute to policy formation and to designing and implementing national reforms in the social and employment fields. This report focuses on the timely and meaningful involvement of national social partners in the preparation of the new resilience and recovery plans and the national reform programmes (NRPs) that were temporarily integrated under the European Semester in 2021.
This policy brief explores the social situation of Europeans with a disability during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using data from the March–April 2021 Living, working and COVID-19 e-survey, it compares the situation of respondents with and without a disability in three areas: perceptions of the healthcare system, mental well-being and financial precarity.
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.
Living and working in Europe, Eurofound’s 2021 yearbook, provides a snapshot of the latest developments in the work and lives of Europeans as explored in the Agency’s research activities over the course of 2021. The range of topics as a result is broad, from the growing diversity of employment across EU regions to developments in minimum wages, and of course the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
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.
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.