Meeting informally on 11–12 July 2003 in Varese, Italy under the incoming
Italian Presidency of the Council, EU social policy and employment ministers
discussed the issue of undeclared work in the EU. This topic, also known as
the 'grey economy', is one of the Italian Presidency’s priorities
(EU0307205F ), and is believed to account for between 7% and 19% of the
volume of total declared employment in EU Member States. It was noted that,
in order to try to reduce undeclared work, a specific employment guideline on
this topic has been included in the latest employment guidelines  to
Member States under the European employment strategy . Actions deemed to
be effective in combatting undeclared work include the removal of
disincentives to declare work, the elimination of poverty traps and renewed
efforts to make work pay. Alongside this, the Italian Presidency’s strategy
to combat undeclared work includes penalties for not declaring work,
incentives to declare work and legislation to avoid the poverty trap.
On 8 July 2003, the Fraser Institute, a Canadian free market think-tank,
released its latest annual report on Economic freedom of the world , drawn
up in conjunction with members of the Economic Freedom Network  (a group
of similar institutes around the world). The report, published since 1996,
uses the most recent internationally comparable data available - referring to
2001 in this case - to provide a ranking of 123 nations according to their
degree of 'economic freedom', defined as 'personal choice, voluntary
exchange, freedom to compete, and protection of the person and property'.
According to the 2003 study, Germany stood in 20th place in the economic
freedom rankings, down from 13th place in the 2002 report (having stood at
12th in 1995, 10th in 1990 and eighth in 1985).
In August 2002, parliament removed the director of Slovak Television
(Slovenská televízia, STV), the country's public broadcaster. The grounds
were that he had signed a new collective agreement which awarded STV
management excessive redundancy pay entitlements (SK0211102N ).
Consequently, the vacancy was advertised and 40 candidates applied for the
position. The Slovak Television Council (Rada Slovenskej televízie, Rada
STV) - a body which is elected by parliament and is responsible for STV's
objectivity and independence - proposed two candidates from among the
applicants and parliament subsequently selected Richard Rybnicek as the new
STV director. Parliament made the decision in the light of Mr Rybnicek's
stated vision for STV's operation and of his TV management experience (he is
a former director of a private TV station). On 15 January 2003, Mr Rybnicek
was officially installed as the new STV director.
In July 2003, a trade union affiliated to the Dutch Christian Trade Union
Federation (CNV) negotiated extra benefits for its own members in a
redundancy agreement with the Getronics IT company. A similar deal was
reached in 2002 by an affiliate of the Dutch Trade Union Federation (FNV) at
Ballast Nedam, the construction firm. Both CNV and FNV expect more such
agreements in future.
The employers’ organisation for the Dutch agriculture and horticulture
sector, LTO Nederland, is to make a quarter of its staff redundant, it was
announced in summer 2003. The factors behind the move include a continuing
decline in the number of farmers and the fact that fewer of them are joining
A draft bill on further liberalisation of the electrical power market, issued
by the Greek Ministry of Development in June 2003, has provoked strong
reactions from the industry's workers, who held protest strikes in June and
In July 2003, a new national collective agreement for Italy's 200,000 postal
workers was signed by Poste Italiane SpA and sectoral trade unions. The deal
provides for a 7.5%. pay increase over two years, as well as introducing a
new job classification system and greater flexibility in working time and
forms of employment.
This article examines the French situation, as of June 2003, with regard to:
legislation and collective bargaining on the pay and conditions of posted
workers (ie workers from one EU Member State posted by their employer to work
in another); the number of such posted workers; and the views of the social
partners and government on the issue.
In May 2003, as part of the demationalisation of Hellenic Petroleum, an
agreement was signed to merge it with the Greek private sector oil company,
Petrola. The POEPDHV petrochemical workers' trade union opposes the merger on
the grounds that it is economically infeasible and furthermore claims that
the merger procedure ignored commitments to social dialogue. It called a
strike at Hellenic Petroleum in July.
July 2003 saw the launch of the Luxembourg Automobile Parts Industry (ILEA),
a new industry and employers' federation for the country's automotive parts
industry. The new body brings together 15 enterprises in this growing sector,
together employing over 8,000 workers.
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.
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.
This policy brief will provide an update on upward convergence in the economic, social and institutional dimensions of the European Union, as outlined in the European Pillar of Social Rights and its accompanying Social Scoreboard.