According to a representative survey of 1,001 firms with fewer than six
employees carried out by the Forsa Society for Social Research and
Statistical Analysis (Gesellschaft für Sozialforschung und statistische
Analysen mbH, forsa ) in March 2003, many small firms of this size have
encountered difficulties owing to Germany's dismissal protection 
legislation over the past five years. The protective legislation currently
applies to employers with more than five employees. The survey finds that
since 1998, among firms with four or five employees, 14% and 15% respectively
have had negative experiences related to this legislation. One in seven small
firms in the representative survey state that they have not created new jobs
due to the strict dismissal protection legislation which applies when their
workforce exceeds five. For enterprises with four or five employees, which
would be most immediately affected if they employed additional staff, this
figure increases to 27% and 31% respectively - see the table below.
In March 2002, the central EU-level social partners agreed a 'framework of
actions  ' for the lifelong development of competencies and qualifications
(EU0204210F ). The signatories were: the European Trade Union
Confederation (ETUC) - whose delegation included representatives of the
liaison committee for managerial and professional staff, which brings
together the ETUC-affiliated Council of European Professional and Managerial
Staff (EUROCADRES) and the independent European Confederation of Executives
and Managerial Staff (CEC); the Union of Industrial and Employers'
Confederations of Europe (UNICE), in cooperation with the European
Association of Craft and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (UEAPME); and the
European Centre of Enterprises with Public Participation and of Enterprises
of General Economic Interest (CEEP). The framework identified the following
four priority areas for action:
In March 2003, the Institute for Economic and Social Research within the Hans
Böckler Foundation (Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliches Institut in
der Hans-Böckler-Stiftung, WSI) presented the first results of its third
works and staff council survey (published in a special issue  of
/WSI-Mitteilungen/, Vol. 56, No. 3, 2003). The survey was carried out in
summer 2002 and included a representative sample of establishments with 20 or
more employees. The principal aim of the survey is to give a current overview
of the situation of works council  s and (public sector) staff council 
s in Germany and to monitor industrial relations at establishment level. A
special evaluation of the survey data provides information on implementation
of the 2001 reform of the Works Constitution  Act
(Betriebsverfassungsgesetz, BetrVG) (DE0107234F ) with regard to the
promotion of the representation of women on works councils and of equal
opportunities for men and women at company level ('Gleichstellung von Frauen
und Männern in der betrieblichen Interessenvertretung', Christina Klenner
and Christiane Lindecke, in /WSI-Mitteilungen/, Vol. 56, No. 3, 2003).
Dans l’Union européenne, l’année 2002 a en général été marquée par
un ralentissement de la croissance économique, une hausse du chômage et une
recrudescence de l’inflation. Il n’est pas surprenant dans ce contexte
que les salaires - et notamment les appels à la modération salariale -
aient revêtu autant sinon davantage d’importance dans les relations
industrielles. Par ailleurs, l’évolution des salaires a plus que jamais
été un thème phare en 2002, année où l’Union économique et monétaire
(UEM) de l’UE est entrée dans une nouvelle phase avec l’introduction des
billets et des pièces en euros dans les 12 pays de la 'zone euro'. Les
avancées de l’UEM impliquent que les pays de la zone euro ne pouvant plus
utiliser les taux de change et les taux d’intérêt comme moyens de
compensation des déséquilibres des performances économiques, la politique
salariale a dû jouer un rôle de plus en plus important pour corriger ces
déséquilibres. En outre, dans le cadre de l’UEM, l’évolution des
salaires constitue un facteur clé pour déterminer si l’économie de
l’UE connaît une tendance inflationniste ou déflationniste.
L’introduction de l’euro a par ailleurs amélioré la transparence en
matière de comparaison des niveaux de salaire en Europe.
In der gesamten Europäischen Union war 2002 generell ein Jahr, in dem sich
das Wirtschaftswachstum verlangsamte, die Arbeitslosigkeit zunahm und sich
die Inflation verstärkte. Es ist nicht überraschend, dass in diesem Kontext
die Entlohnung - und insbesondere Aufforderungen in Bezug auf maßvolle
Lohnforderungen - ihre zentrale Bedeutung für die Arbeitsbeziehungen behielt
und sogar noch ausbaute. Zudem standen im Jahr 2002 die Lohnentwicklungen
stärker als je zuvor im Brennpunkt des Interesses, da in diesem Jahr die
Wirtschafts- und Währungsunion (WWU) der EU mit der Einführung von
Euro-Banknoten und -Münzen in den zwölf Ländern des 'Euro-Gebiets' in eine
neue Phase trat. Der Fortschritt der WWU bedeutet, dass sich die
Aufmerksamkeit mehr und mehr auf die Entlohnung als Mittel für die Anpassung
an wirtschaftliche Ungleichgewichte richten wird, da die Länder des
Euro-Gebiets für derartige Anpassungen keine Wechselkurse und Zinssätze
mehr verwenden können. Ferner sind innerhalb der WWU die Lohnentwicklungen
ein Schlüsselfaktor dafür, ob sich die Wirtschaft der EU in Richtung einer
Inflation oder einer Deflation entwickelt. Durch die Einführung des Euro
sind Lohnvergleiche innerhalb Europas auch transparenter geworden.
In May 2003, the white-collar Confederation of Vocational Unions
(Yrkesorganisasjonenes Sentralforbund, YS) participated for the first time in
the statutory congress  of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC),
held in Prague. Over the previous year or so, YS had joined international
trade union organisations at the Nordic, European and global level - ie the
Council of Nordic Trade Unions (Norden Faglige Samorganisasjon, NFS ),
ETUC, and the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU ).
YS had long aspired to become a member of these organisations, and its
leader, Randi Bjørgan, stated in a press release that she was delighted
finally to be able to represent YS at the ETUC congress. She emphasised in
her speech at the congress that the issues facing Norwegian trade unions are
also important issues in other countries, and that the congress confirmed the
value of cooperation to tackle these issues through the European trade union
Figures published by Statistics Norway (Statistisk Sentralbyrå, SSB) in
mid-2003 suggest that approximately 150,000 working days were lost as a
result of labour disputes in 2002. The number of working days lost per 1,000
employees was approximately 70. This means that the number of working days
lost in industrial disputes in 2002 (NO0206105F ) was lower than in the
other years over the past decade when bargaining over main wage settlements
occurred (ie 1992, 1996, 1998 and 2000). The equivalent figure in 2000, the
year of the last main bargaining round, was just under 500,000. At the same
time, however, the 2002 figures confirm that Norway is among those
industrialised countries with a medium to high level of industrial conflict
This report outlines the proceedings from a Foundation seminar on the theme of interactions between the labour market and social protection. The main conclusion to emerge is that interactions between the labour market and social protection are complex but very necessary in the current situation in Europe. Creative policy mixes are needed in order to make the trajectories of policy reform successful. They will lead to more sustainability of the European social model. The seminar expanded on work done previously by the Foundation such as the first Foundation paper on quality of work and employment. It referred also to a number of more specific projects, which are/have been carried out by the Foundation such as ‘negotiating the conditions of flexibility’, ‘pacts for employment and competitiveness’, and ‘integrated approaches towards the activation of minimum-income recipients’.
This conference at Sheffield Halham University addressed some critical issues relating to how the supply of care workers – both those involved in childcare and those who provide domiciliary care for older people living in their own homes – can be stimulated to match the growing demand for their caring labour. The conference heard contributions from leading experts in the field, drawn from employers, trade unions, policymakers and academics, representing seven different European countries.
The European Monitoring Centre for Change (EMCC) set out five case studies regarding developments in the graphics and media sector. These cover: Sportnews Internet Services, Greece; the BBC, UK; Gopher Publishers, the Netherlands; Borsen, the leading business newspaper in Denmark; and Daydream Software, Sweden. Each case study sets out the background to the company, market dynamics and company changes, organisation and workforce and the market, education and training, and virtualisation of the workplace. The interview questionnaire is also included for reference.
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 the use of care services and older people’s reliance on other support. The report presents policy measures that have been implemented in EU Member States to support older people along all of the above-mentioned dimensions.
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?