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.
In July 2003, a new national collective agreement was signed for the 270,000
workers in the Italian food and beverages sector. As well as providing for a
pay increase of 6.55% over two years, the agreement strengthens joint
industrial relations structures, with a new joint body in charge of training,
and introduces greater flexibility in working time and forms of employment.
Management and trade unions at the state-owned electricity company, the
Electricity Supply Board (ESB), have concluded a 'partnership agreement' on
working arrangements for workers who will operate two modern electricity
generating plants currently under construction in the Irish midlands at a
cost of EUR 240 million - the Lough Ree and West Offaly power stations. The
agreement places a strong emphasis on equality issues and introduces
team-based working, an annual hours system and new reward mechanisms.
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).
In 2022, the European Semester was streamlined to integrate the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) established on 19 February 2021 (Regulation (EU) 2021/241). While facing the geopolitical and economic challenges triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Member States have been implementing the national Recovery and Resilience Plans (RRPs) for more than one year and around 100 billion euro in RRF funds have already been disbursed.
This report explores the association between skills use and skills strategies and establishment performance, and how other workplace practices, in terms of work organisation, human resources management and employee involvement, can impact on this. It looks at how skills shortages can be addressed, at least in part, by creating an environment in which employees are facilitated and motivated to make better use of the skills they already have. This further supports the business case for a more holistic approach to management.
This paper provides an analytical summary of state of the art academic and policy literature on the impact of climate change and policies to manage transitions to a carbon neutral economy on employment, working conditions, social dialogue and living conditions. It maps the key empirical findings around the impact of climate change and the green transitions on jobs, sectors, regions and countries in Europe, identifying the opportunities and risks that climate change policies bring to European labour markets.
As part of its response to Russia’s war on Ukraine, the EU swiftly activated its Temporary Protection Directive for those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine – enabling displaced persons to settle in the EU and have access to the labour market and basic public services. This policy brief highlights the main barriers encountered by these refugees (over 5 million people to date) when seeking a job and provides suggestions on how to facilitate their integration.
Living and working in Europe, Eurofound’s 2022 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 2022. Eurofound’s research on working and living conditions in Europe provides a bedrock of evidence for input into social policymaking and achieving the Agency’s vision ‘to be Europe’s leading knowledge source for better life and work’.
The term ‘hybrid work’ became popular due to the upsurge of telework during the COVID-19 pandemic. The term has been increasingly used to refer to situations in which (teleworkable) work is performed both from the usual place of work (normally the employer’s premises) and from home (as experienced during the pandemic) or other locations. However, the concept of hybrid work is still blurry, and various meanings are in use. This topical update brings clarity to this concept by exploring available information from recent literature and the Network of Eurofound Correspondents.
Housing affordability is a matter of great concern across the EU. Poor housing affordability leads to housing evictions, housing insecurity, problematic housing costs and housing inadequacy. These problems negatively affect health and well-being, create unequal living conditions and opportunities, and come with healthcare costs, reduced productivity and environmental damage. Private market tenants face particularly large increases in the cost of housing.
With the expansion of telework and different forms of hybrid work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important for policymakers to consider both the opportunities and the negative consequences that may result. This report will explore potential scenarios for such work. In doing so, it will identify trends and drivers, and predict how they might interact to create particular outcomes and how they are likely to affect workers and businesses. Policy pointers will outline what could be done to facilitate desirable outcomes and to avoid undesirable ones.
Eurofound's annual review of minimum wages reports on the development of statutory and collectively agreed minimum wages across the EU and the processes through which they were set. The focus of this year’s report is on the impact of high inflation on the setting of minimum wage rates. In addition, new figures on the net value of minimum wages are presented, along with the latest policy-relevant research in the EU Member States and Norway.
Building on previous work by Eurofound, this report will investigate intergenerational dynamics over time. During the 2008 double-dip recession, worrying intergenerational divides appeared in many Member States, and while some of the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is universal, early data suggests disparities across demographic cohorts. Eurofound will examine how different age groups may have been affected in terms of their health, labour market participation, quality of life and financial needs, both in the short term and in the long term.