At the end of 2002, three-quarters of Dutch employees were covered by
collective agreements containing childcare arrangements. However, in 2003, in
anticipation of new childcare provision legislation due to come into force in
2005, employers are cutting back the proportion of childcare costs that they
meet under such agreements. At the same time, the cost of childcare is
increasing as market forces take hold in the childcare sector and labour
costs rise because of the abolition of state-subsidised employment and wage
increases for regular staff.
The comparative supplement in this issue of EIRObserver examines the subject of overtime in 19 European countries: the 15 EU Member States, Hungary, Norway, Poland and Slovakia. It outlines the following aspects: the regulation of overtime through legislation and collective agreements; the level of overtime working; and the positions, strategies and debates of the industrial relations actors. Working time also features as a topic in this issue relating to cases in Spain, Finland and Italy. EIRObserver is the bi-monthly bulletin of the European Industrial Relations Observatory. It contains an edited selection of feature and news items, based on some of the reports supplied for the EIROnline database over each two-month period, in this case for May and June 2003. In addition to this, EIRO conducts comparative research on specific themes.
In June 2003, a Spanish court issued its judgment on the 'Ardystil syndrome',
one of the country's worst occupational health disasters, which resulted in
six deaths and over 70 serious illnesses among employees in textile printing
companies in Valencia in the early 1990s. The long-awaited ruling found that
the employers concerned were clearly responsible, and that the public
authorities failed to fulfil their role as a guarantor of safety.
In June 2003, after five months of negotiations, the Confindustria employers'
confederation and the three main trade union confederations (Cgil, Cisl and
Uil) signed a pact aimed at relaunching development, employment and
competitiveness in Italy. The agreement focuses on research, training, the
South of Italy and infrastructure, and seeks to influence the government's
future economic policy.
Agriculture remains an important part of the Dutch economy, accounting for
around 10% of GDP . The sector is currently undergoing major changes in terms
of production, markets and technology, with important implications for
employment. This article examines industrial relations in agriculture,
looking at the social partners, the unique system of bipartite 'commodity
boards', collective bargaining and the key issues of casual labour and health
In May 2003 after only three rounds of talks, the Mining, Chemicals and
Energy Industrial Union (Industriegewerkschaft Bergbau, Chemie, Energie, IG
BCE) and the German Federation of Chemicals Employers' Associations
(Bundesarbeitgeberverband Chemie, BAVC) signed a package of new collective
agreements for the 580,000 or so employees in the German chemicals industry.
The package includes: a new pay agreement; an amendment to the working time
agreement; a new collective agreement on training; and a new agreement on
increasing the number of apprenticeship and training places.
Foresight is an important tool in policy analysis, and encompasses a wide spectrum of methods and approaches. This handbook tackles the major questions that have to be considered in embarking upon knowledge society foresight. It does so largely in a question-and-answer format. The handbook is neither an essay on knowledge society foresight nor is it simply a toolkit of ways to think about long-term futures. It is a guide to foresight and to making decisions to undertake activity in the field. It is illustrated with some examples drawn from relevant activities around the world, while a series of annexes provide more discussion, essays and resource materials for those wishing to pursue matters more deeply.
In 1997, the European Council called for a high-level group to examine the economic and social implications of industrial change. With the full support of the European Parliament, Commission and social partners, it proposed the creation of the European Centre on Monitoring Change (EMCC) within the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. The EMCC’s mission is to cast a spotlight on the economic and social developments that drive change in the European economy. It highlights changes resulting from shifts in technology, work organisation, production and business models, legislation, working practices and the labour market. Using research and analysis, EMCC provides companies, the social partners, public authorities and European institutions with the data and qualitative information they need in order to manage the consequences of such change.
During recent years, two developments on the Bulgarian labour market have
caused particular concern among the authorities and social partners - the use
of hired labour without a signed employment contract, and the widespread
practice of employers paying social insurance contributions only on the basis
of the national minimum wage, rather than on employees' actual pay. The
present government has recently introduced two new inter-related measures -
both long demanded by trade unions - adding to the efforts of previous
governments to reduce the extent of these two problems. The National Council
for Tripartite Partnership (NCTP) has agreed these measures, which are:
mandatory registration of employment contracts with the National Social
Security Institute (NSSI); and the introduction of minimum social insurance
thresholds, higher than the national minimum wage and set at different levels
for the various economic sectors and the occupations.
The Act on Data Protection in Working Life  (477/2001) came into force on
1 October 2001 (FI0106191F ), governing the protection of personal data in
the employment context. However, it lacked clear rules in a number of areas,
such as employers’ rights to conduct drug tests on job applicants and
employees, use video surveillance at the workplace and open employees’
e-mails while they are absent. On the initiative of parliament, the Ministry
of Labour soon afterwards set up a working group to prepare proposals for
legislation in these areas. The group included members from the Ministry of
Social Affairs and Health, the Ministry of Transport and the Data Protection
Ombudsman (Tietosuojaviranomaiset), as well as representatives of trade
unions and employers’ organisations. It published its unanimous report on
26 June 2003.
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.
Adequate, affordable housing has become a matter of great concern, with an alarming number of Europeans with low or lower household incomes unable to access any, especially in capital cities. Housing was a key factor in people’s experience of the COVID-19 pandemic: its quality and level of safety significantly affected how lockdowns and social distancing measures were experienced, with those who had no access to quality housing at higher risk of deteriorating living conditions and well-being.
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.