On 8 July 2003, the UK's Labour Party government published its latest white
paper on skills. The white paper, entitled 21st century skills: realising our
potential , sets out an England-wide strategy for improving the skills and
productivity of the workforce. As such, it aims to tackle what it calls 'deep
and pervasive problems' that have resulted in the UK suffering from a
significant productivity and skills deficit relative to its major
competitors. Output per hour worked is at least 25% higher in Germany and the
USA, and over 30% higher in France, than in the UK. Only 28% of the UK
workforce have an intermediate-level qualification, compared with 51% in
France and 65% in Germany. It is also estimated that there are over 7 million
adult workers, or around 30% of the UK workforce, without a level 2
qualification or above - ie five 'good' GCSEs (exams taken at the end of
compulsory secondary education) at grades A*-C or a National Vocational
Qualification (NVQ) level 2.
On 7 July 2003, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) published a
consultation document  setting out how the UK government proposes to
implement the EU information and consultation Directive (2002/14/EC) 
(EU0204207F ), and inviting comments on draft Regulations. The approach
taken by the draft Regulations is based on a framework established in
discussions between ministers and representatives of the Confederation of
British Industry (CBI) and the Trades Union Congress (TUC), who agreed an
'outline scheme' for the implementing legislation which is incorporated in
the consultation document. The draft Regulations also take account of
responses to the DTI discussion paper published in July 2002 (UK0208101N
), and views expressed at a series of round-table discussions held around
the country. The government is now consulting on the detail of draft
Regulations, their practical operation, and the sort of guidance that
employers and employees will need in applying the new legislation. The
government has set a four-month consultation period (ie until 7 November
2003) during which interested parties may submit comments and a second set of
round-table discussions will be held.
On 29 May 2003, the Institute of Public Administration (IPA) held a human
resource management conference  in Dublin, which looked at examples of how
Ireland’s public sector organisations are responding to the challenges
posed by the current modernisation and 'change management' agenda, as
described in the sections on delivering high-quality public services
contained in the country's new national agreement, Sustaining progress 
(IE0304201N ). Public sector employers and are facing negotiations on this
modernisation agenda, and progress is expected as a 'quid quo pro' for the
recent pay increases received by public sector workers under a 'benchmarking'
exercise (IE0207203N ), which compared the pay of public servants with
that in the private sector.
/Sector Futures are specialised, targeted reports using findings from
existing foresight studies, scenario work, innovation studies and reliable
data sources. December 2003 features the third and last article in the series
on the future of information and communication technologies (ICT). It focuses
on policy issues for the future of the sector./
Communiqué is the newsletter of the Foundation It is published 6 times per year and provides up-to-date news and information on the Foundation's work and research. This issue contains the following articles: Better quality jobs will boost EU competitiveness; Social dialogue a vital tool for acceding countries in preparation for EMU; Industrial restructuring for economic and social growth; Understanding the knowledge society; Improving labour protection for economically dependent workers; Changes to the European industrial relations landscape.
The Foundation offers a wide variety of online information sources on the subject of industrial restructuring. This leaflet outlines different facets of restructuring and provides links to a large body of relevant Foundation work on this important subject. Industrial restructuring is a striking feature of the economic landscape in Europe today. Whatever the approach, restructuring represents an attempt at managing and anticipating change, simultaneously tackling issues of economic, social and environmental significance.
In May 2003, a /methods agreement/ was signed between trade unions and
management at GIAT Industries, the French arms manufacturer. The agreement
sets out a procedure and timetable for consultations over a major
restructuring plan involving large-scale job losses which the company
announced in April. In line with this procedure, a draft 'company contract',
outlining the state's commitments and GIAT's plans for the 2003-8 period, was
presented in June and criticised by the unions.
A reform of France's /UNEDIC/ unemployment insurance scheme agreed by
employers' organisations and three trade union confederations in December
2002 will substantially restrict unemployment benefit entitlements when new
eligibility rules come into force on 1 January 2004. In mid-2003, UNEDIC
issued figures indicating that cuts in entitlement will affect between
610,000 and 860,000 people currently in receipt of benefit. These figures
have fuelled new criticism from the union confederations (CGT and CGT-FO),
which did not sign the reform agreement.
In summer 2003, attempts are continuing to redeploy the 3,200 employees of
the French airline, Air Lib, which went into liquidation in February.
Meanwhile, the legal authorities and parliament have both been conducting
investigations into the circumstances surrounding the takeover and subsequent
bankruptcy of the company .
This information sheet offers a brief overview of the Foundation's new research project in the living conditions sphere. The Foundation launched a new pan-European ‘quality of life’ survey in May 2003. This project will provide new information and analysis on living conditions and quality of life issues throughout the 28 countries of the EU and its candidate countries. The first results, to be presented at the end of 2003, will draw on the survey’s findings, together with existing information from a database of comparable EU-wide data.
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 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.
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?