On 17 June 2003, a new trade union, Fagforbundet, was created as the result
of a merger between the Norwegian Union of Municipal Employees (Norsk
Kommuneforbund, NKF) and the smaller Association of Health and Social Care
Personnel (Norsk Helse- og Sosialforbund, NHS) (NO0211106F ). The new
union, with approximately 300,000 members, is Norway's largest. It mainly
organises employees in the municipal sector, a large majority of whom are
women. Fagforbundet  is affiliated to the Norwegian Confederation of Trade
Unions (Landsorganisasjonen i Norge, LO). NKF and NHS started talks on a
possible merger as early as 1998, and the matter was subsequently subject to
considerable debate and a comprehensive process of deliberation (NO9809185F
 and NO0211106F ).
In July 2003, the Portuguese government presented the second National Plan
for Equality. The plan aims to promote equality between women and men in a
wide range of areas, addressing matters such as education, employment,
balancing work and family life, preventing violence against women, and social
On 1 July 2003, the Italian government took over the Presidency of the EU
Council for a six-month term (EU0307205F ). The European Trade Union
Confederation (ETUC) has issued a memorandum  to the Italian Presidency in
which it details a list of social issues that it wishes to see addressed
during the second half of 2003.
Set against the backdrop of preparations for enlargement of the European Union, Industrial relations developments in Europe 2003 provides a comparative overview of the most significant industrial relations developments during 2003, both at national and EU level. The fruit of a joint collaboration between the Foundation and the European Commission, the report presents the year’s main activities in European social dialogue and employment legislation and policy.
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.
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
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.
On 7 July 2003, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) published a
discussion paper, The UK experience of European Works Councils , seeking
views on how European Works Councils (EWCs) set up by UK-based companies have
been working in practice. The principal aim of the exercise is to build up a
'stronger evidence base' from which the UK government can develop its
approach to the EU-level discussions on the possibility of revising the 1994
EWCs Directive (94/45/EC ), which are due to get underway later in 2003.
The European Commission has indicated that it will begin consultations with
EU-level trade unions and employers’ organisations on the revision of the
Directive in the autumn, raising the prospect of amendments to the Directive
being brought forward sometime in 2004 or 2005.
In July 2003, the municipality of Rome and the local employers' organisation,
the Industrialists’ Union, signed an agreement to increase women’s
presence in the city's information and communications technology (ICT)
companies and improve the skills and qualifications of women already employed
in the sector.
The European Restructuring Monitor (ERM) has reported on the employment impact of large-scale business restructuring since 2002. This publication series include the ERM reports, as well as blogs, articles and working papers on restructuring-related events in the EU27 and Norway.
Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) paints a wide-ranging picture of Europe at work across countries, occupations, sectors and age groups. This series consists of findings from the European Working Conditions Telephone Survey (EWCTS) 2021, an extraordinary edition conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey was first carried out in 1990.
This publication series gathers all overview reports on developments in working life, annual reviews in industrial relations and working conditions produced by Eurofound on the basis of national contributions from the Network of Eurofound Correspondents (NEC). Since 1997, these reports have provided overviews of the latest developments in industrial relations and working conditions across the EU and Norway. The series may include recent ad hoc articles written by members of the NEC.
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.
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).