A referendum on extending the right to reinstatement for unfairly dismissed
workers provided by Article 18 of the Workers' Statute to all companies (it
currently applies only to those with over 15 workers) was held in Italy in
June 2003. However, it failed because only 25.7% of the Italian electorate
went to the polls, while a turn-out of more than 50% was needed to make the
referendum valid. The referendum reopened divisions between the trade unions.
In June 2003, the Dutch Trade Union Federation (FNV) decided on major
cutbacks and restructuring as a result of its poor financial position. Its
budget is to be cut by a quarter, activities are to be reduced (notably at
regional level) and up to 90 out of 240 jobs may be lost.
KEY-Finland  is the joint mission of the Finnish trade union
confederations – the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (Suomen
Ammattiliittojen Keskusjärjestö, SAK), the Confederation of Salaried
Employees (Toimihenkilökeskusjärjestö, STTK) and the Confederation of
Unions for Academic Professionals (AKAVA) – in Brussels. The current
director of KEY-Finland, Jorma Skippari, leaves his position in summer 2004.
Due to this, in June 2003 SAK, STTK, and AKAVA invited Jarmo Lähteenmäki,
the president of the Finnish Paperworkers’ Union (Paperiliitto), to take up
the position of director of KEY-Finland from 1 April 2004.
On 24 June 2003, the Cologne Institute for Business Research (Institut der
deutschen Wirtschaft Köln, IW) published the results of a survey  of 900
firms with a total of 1.6 million employees, conducted in May 2003. The
survey examined the vocational training situation in Germany. Whereas the
Federal Labour Office (Bundesanstalt für Arbeit, BA) recently estimated that
there would be a severe shortage of approximately 70,000 vocational training
places in Germany in autumn 2003 (DE0305103F ), the IW results are more
optimistic. According to the IW survey 'only' about 20,000 to 30,000 people
are unlikely to find an apprenticeship place before new courses begin in the
On 3 June 2003, the European Commission presented a new Communication (COM
(2203) 336 final) ) on immigration, integration and employment. The
Communication reviews integration policies, at both national and EU level,
and then goes on to suggest ways in which integration of immigrants could be
promoted. It also looks at the potential impact which immigrants are likely
to have on employment and economic growth, in the context of the ageing
In his statement to parliament (Deutscher Bundestag) on 14 March 2003 about
the government's Agenda 2010 programme of economic and social policy reforms
(DE0303105F ), Chancellor Gerhard Schröder announced his intention to
relax rules governing craft workers’ qualifications. Subsequently, on 28
May 2003, the cabinet decided to make it easier to establish businesses in
the craft industries. The current legislation, the Craft Trades Directive,
stipulates that a 'master’s' certificate is the prerequisite for
establishing or taking over a business in the craft sector. Currently,
businesses in 94 craft industries have to be led by a qualified 'master'
The European Commission launched on 16 June 2003 a new campaign aimed at
raising awareness of discrimination in Europe. According to a recent
Eurobarometer survey  on attitudes towards discrimination, most people in
Europe believe that ethnic origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation
or age can be an obstacle to finding employment. The survey also found that
people feel that discrimination against ethnic minorities is the most
widespread form of discrimination in the EU. Around one-fifth of those
questioned in the survey said that they had personally witnessed
discrimination on ethnic grounds. On a country basis, this ranged from 15% of
respondents in Ireland to 35% in the Netherlands. Overall, only one in three
respondents stated that they would know what their rights were if they were
On 12 June 2003, the delegates at a special conference held in Glasgow by the
Fire Brigades’ Union (FBU) voted three to one in favour of accepting a
revised pay deal agreed between the local authority employers and union
negotiators. The following day, the pay agreement  was formally approved
by the National Joint Council for Local Authorities’ Fire Brigades (NJC),
bringing to an end the long-running pay dispute within the UK fire service.
Over recent years, the Minister of Economy and Labour Affairs, Martin
Bartenstein, has made several unsuccessful attempts to liberalise further the
current regulations on shop opening hours, which were most recently amended
in 1997 but are still seen as relatively restrictive (AT0101239N ). Any
such extension of opening hours and working time was opposed by both the
social partners and the political parties in parliament, except the
conservative People’s Party (Österreichische Volkspartei, ÖVP)
(AT0107221N ). However, in spring 2003, the coalition government of the
ÖVP and the populist Freedom Party (Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, FPÖ)
reached agreement on further deregulation of the shop opening legislation.
On 7 June 2003, the German Metalworkers' Union (Industriegewerkschaft Metall,
IG Metall) and the employers' association for the German steel industry
(Arbeitgeberverband Stahl) agreed on the phasing-in of a 35-hour working week
in the eastern German steel industry by 2009. Collectively agreed working
time in the eastern steel industry is currently 38 hours a week, while a
35-hour week applies in the sector in western Germany. The new framework
agreement on employment conditions  (Manteltarifvertrag) now provides for
a step-by-step reduction in standard working time as follows:
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 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 two rounds – in April and in July 2020. 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 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.
Eurofound's representativness 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 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.
The European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) is carried out every four to five years since its inception in 2003, with the latest edition in 2016. It examines both the objective circumstances of people's lives and how they feel about those circumstances and their lives in general. It covers issues around employment, income, education, housing, family, health and work–life balance. It also looks at subjective topics, such as people's levels of happiness and life satisfaction, and perceptions of the quality of society.
This report examines the contribution of social and employment services in EU Member States to the inclusion of people with disabilities, specifically in relation to the impact these have on labour market integration – in line with the 2006 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The report includes a discussion of the costs and benefits of different approaches.
Living and working in Europe, Eurofound’s 2020 yearbook, provides a snapshot of what is happening in the work and lives of Europeans as explored in the Agency’s research activities over the course of 2020. The scope is broad, from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on employment and on people’s well-being to the inequalities in the working conditions of women and men. It also highlights the connections between Eurofound’s work and EU policy priorities in the coming years.
The third round of Eurofound's e-survey, fielded in February and March 2021, sheds light on the social and economic situation of people after nearly a full year of living with COVID-19 restrictions: How are people doing? What is their outlook on life? How has the availability of vaccinations changed their perceptions? This report presents an overview of the main findings and tracks the developments across the 27 EU Member States since the survey was first launched in April 2020.
While the EU is considered to be a global leader in gender equality, it is not yet a reality for millions of Europeans given the different dynamics in the Member States. The EU Gender Equality Strategy 2020–2025 acknowledges the slow speed of progress and outlines key actions to promote gender equality. Have all countries improved their performance? Which countries have been able to dramatically reduce gender inequality? Which countries lag behind?
As part of an annual series on minimum wages, this report summarises the key developments during 2020 and early 2021 with an emphasis on social partners’ roles and views. It looks at how minimum wages were set in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and how minimum wages act as a reference for income support measures. Information from interviews with decision-makers on the process of setting the minimum wage in 2020, along with their assessment of impacts of the proposed EU Directive on adequate minimum wages is also included.
This joint publication with the European Environment Agency (EEA) presents the findings from complementary research carried out simultaneously by both agencies on the socioeconomic impacts of climate policies and measures. While Eurofound focuses particularly on the distributional effects of these policies based on the experiences of Member States, the EEA analyses scientific research about the monetary and non-monetary social impacts of climate mitigation policies and its outcome in terms of inequalities.
The European Green Deal features high on Member State agendas. However, there are concerns that the necessary changes to climate policy may have undesirable socioeconomic consequences, such as regressive distributional effects and increased inequality. This report attempts to identify those policies where there is a significant risk involved and aims to provide guidance on how negative distributional risk can be mitigated.
Based on data from the European Company Survey 2019, this policy brief examines the characteristics of innovative companies and explores the types of workplace practices that are significantly associated with establishments' likelihood of introducing innovation. It also investigates differences between workplace practices of innovative and non-innovative companies. Additionally, data gathered through case studies analyse the role of workplace practices in different phases of the innovation process.
This report investigates the convergence of Member States in various dimensions of living conditions. Indicators are drawn from the European Quality of Life Surveys and other surveys. The analysis pays special attention to particular subgroups such as young people and women. The analysis also investigates the key drivers of convergence in living conditions.
As the EU embarks on the transition to a climate-neutral economy, it is crucial to understand the impact of such a transition on production models, employment, work organisation, working conditions, social dialogue and citizens’ lives and living conditions.