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.
A recent statement from the managing director of the Association of Employers
in the Danish Building Industry (Dansk Byggeri) has angered trade unions
represented in the building industry, the General Workers' Union
(Specialarbejderforbundet i Danmark, SiD) and the Union of Wood, Industrial
and Building Workers (Forbundet Træ-Industri-Byg, TIB). He stated that it
would be a sign of bad management and leadership if Danish building industry
employers did not take advantage of the opportunity to employ workers from
Poland and the Baltic states after they join the European Union in 1 May
2004. Such workers could be hired at the lowest wage laid down in the
relevant collective agreement without any difficulty. Normally Danish workers
are paid close to the double the sector's minimum wage of DKK 94 per hour
because of local agreements and acquired bonus entitlements. Hiring a central
or eastern European worker on the lowest possible wage might breach the
spirit of the wage development agreed in collective bargaining, but would not
be against any collectively agreed or legislative provision. The employers
also state that Danish workers on a building site will not be able to demand
that new recruits from eastern Europe be paid at the same rate as them.
On 20 June 2003, Ireland’s 270 public health doctors, represented by the
Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), returned to work after a 10-week strike
over a demand for concrete proposals from their employers in relation to
improved pay, status, and terms and conditions of employment (IE0305203F
). During this time, the dispute became increasingly bitter, as the
parties’ positions remained polarised. However, the dispute has now been
resolved by a 'return to work formula' accepted by IMO and the Health Service
Employers Agency (HSEA). This formula is based on a complex set of proposals
brokered by the Labour Relations Commission (LRC), under which pay increases
due under the local pay bargaining clauses of previous national agreements
and the implementation of the Brennan Review of public health (this review
was established to examine the future of public health structures, and its
report was published in April 2002), were referred to the Public Service
Two major companies in the Belgian aeronautical industry, Sabca and Sonaca,
have been forced by the sector's difficulties to restructure their
activities. Plans announced by the two Wallonia-based companies in spring
2003 will involve making several hundred workers redundant. The trade unions
are demanding alternative solutions, and stepped up protest work stoppages
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 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
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
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
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'
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.
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 explores the drivers of economic and social convergence in Europe, using a selected set of economic and social indicators to examine trends in the performance of individual Member States. It also investigates what role the Economic and Monetary Union plays in convergence, particularly in southern and eastern Member States. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on convergence is analysed and initial conclusions are drawn about the impact of EU recovery packages and their ability to prevent divergence.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the textiles and clothing sector. Their relative representativeness legitimises their right to be consulted, their role and effective participation in the European sectoral social dialogue and their capacity to negotiate agreements. The aim of this Eurofound study on representativeness is to identify the relevant national and European social partner organisations in the textiles and clothing sector in the EU Member States.
Platform work – the matching of supply of and demand for paid labour through an online platform or app – is gaining increasing importance in Europe. It has attracted policy attention due to its inherent opportunities and challenges. Across Europe, initiatives have been introduced by governments, social partners and grassroots organisations aimed at harnessing the potential and reducing the risks of this employment form. The areas covered include regulation, representation, advice and information provision, as well as measures addressing social protection, ratings and training.
This report analyses how working conditions, job quality and working life outcomes – such as work–life balance, health and well-being, and sustainability of work – changed between February 2020 and spring 2021. Following up on responses to the European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) 2020, it explores the differences between three distinct groups of workers: those teleworking during the COVID-19 pandemic, those who continued to work on their employers' premises as frontline staff, and those who were furloughed or worked reduced hours.
The use of artificial intelligence, advanced robotics and the Internet of Things technologies in the workplace can bring about fundamental changes in work organisation and working conditions. This report analyses the ethical and human implications of the use of these technologies at work by drawing on qualitative interviews with policy stakeholders, input from the Network of Eurofound Correspondents and Delphi expert surveys, and case studies.