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research projects or facts and figures relevant to policy debates. Also included are blog articles, regular articleson working life in Europe, presentations, working papers providing background material to ongoing or already concluded research, and reports arising from ad hoc requests by policymakers. Other corporate publications include annual reports, brochures and promotional publications. Web databases and online resources such as data visualisation applications are available in Data and resources.
The objective of this report is to awaken the interest of the research community in surveys of working conditions, and to illustrate how a variety of working conditions surveys are conducted in different European and other industrialised countries. In this case, priority has been given to a descriptive analysis of the surveys. The background for this study dates back to July 2001, when the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions announced its interest in financing an analysis of the national working conditions surveys being conducted in the European Union. Every five years, the Foundation conducts a working conditions survey in the Member States of the European Union. This survey was conducted in 1990/91, 1995 and 2000. Similar data collection systems exist on a national scale in Europe and other industrialised countries (Australia, Canada, Japan and the United States).
The European Monitoring Centre on Change (EMCC), at the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, commissioned two scenarios relating to the fishing industry: Sustainable eFishing and Troubled waters. The aim was to assess the impact of information and communication technologies (ICT) on the fishing industry across Europe.
In April 2003, legislation came into force giving parents of children under
six or of disabled children under 18 the statutory right to request flexible
working and to have their request seriously considered by their employer
(UK0304104F ). Prior to the introduction of the legislation, employers’
groups had opposed statutory intervention in this area and expressed concern
at its potential impact on business performance, whereas trade unions were
critical of the scope for employers to reject employee requests for flexible
working. However, a survey of employers conducted by the Chartered Institute
of Personnel and Development (CIPD), representing human resources managers,
and the law firm Lovells, published in October 2003, suggests that the
operation of the legislation has proved to be 'user-friendly' for
organisations in both the private and public sectors.
TheEmployment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003  and
theEmployment Equality (Religion and Belief) Regulations 2003  came into
force on 1 and 2 December 2003 respectively. The two sets of Regulations
outlaw direct and indirect discrimination against, and harassment and
victimisation of, people in employment and vocational training because of
their sexual orientation, religion or belief.
A public sector 'benchmarking' process conducted in 2002 (IE0207203N )
awarded pay increases ranging from 2.5% to 25%, with an average of 8.9%, to
Ireland’s public servants after they were benchmarked against private
sector comparators. The main 'quid quo pro' was that the workers concerned
would have to show real progress in cooperating with the 'industrial peace'
and modernisation/change agenda contained in Sections 19-26 of Ireland's
current national agreement, Sustaining Progress , which was ratified by
the social partners in March 2003 (IE0304201N  and IE0301209F ).
Employees with the highest skills, best qualifications and highest incomes
enjoy the highest levels of job autonomy in working life. Unskilled workers
and low-income employees are the least favoured in this regard. The study,
Degrees of job autonomy , /(pdf file -/ in Danish, /Dimensioner af frihed
i arbejdslivet/ ), from the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions 
(Landsorganisationen, LO), concludes that the non-financial inequalities are
much more significant than monetary differences.
In October 2003, another set of changes to the Polish Labour Code were
adopted by parliament - the latest in a series of rounds of amendments in
recent years. The primary objective of the new amendments is further
harmonisation of Polish labour legislation with the relevant EU law. The most
important issues addressed include sick leave, fixed-term employment
contracts, working time, annual and childcare leave, harassment, bullying and
the employment of minors.
Since the early 1990s, the Polish public sector has contracted significantly
and its pay and conditions have changed. While the sector continues, for the
most part, to offer stability of employment, there is a trade-off in the form
of earnings which lower than those in the private sector. This article
examines the situation in 2003 in terms of public sector pay determination
and levels, as well as looking at the development of the sector over recent
In November 2003, the French social partners are engaged in difficult
intersectoral negotiations over social measures to accompany corporate
restructuring, while the government is preparing new measures in this area
and changes to the law on collective redundancies. Relations between the
social partners have been strained by the proposals of the MEDEF employers'
organisation on restructuring and by recommendations made in an official
Despite major advances in legislation on equal opportunities for women and
men and reconciling work and family life - often due to EU Directives -
collective bargaining on these issues has been slow to develop in Spain. This
article examines the situation in late 2003.