EurWORK European Observatory of Working Life

Articles

EurWORK articles cover working life in Europe, in particular the fields of industrial relations and working conditions. The articles are based on quarterly reporting provided by the Network of Eurofound Correspondents.

  • Topical updates summarise and update developments around selected topics, which are relevant across a number of Member States at the same time
  • Spotlight reports cover in more depth country-level events, debates and changes in regulation related to working life, aiming to provide a balanced view of all parties’ positions
  • Research in Focus articles report on important research findings (including surveys) from the national level, often, but not exclusively, in the area of working conditions
  • In brief articles are short news items drawn from the correspondents' quarterly reports
  • Country updates summarise developments at national level and are published 4 times a year

13879 items found
  • Tax-free payments in return for agreed pay restructuring

    Under a novel provision in the Finance Bill, 1997 which gives effect to this year's Budget, employees are now entitled to tax relief on individual lump-sum payments paid in the context of company restructuring. The payments can be made by companies to their employees for agreeing to pay restructuring, which must involve overall pay reductions of at last 10% of an employee's average salary for the previous two years and must remain in force for at least five years. While it is possible that basic pay could be hit by the measure, the sort of payroll reductions envisaged are more likely to effect non-basic pay items such as overtime, bonus payments and shift allowances.
  • Government invitation to social dialogue

    Taking into account significant changes in the international environment and their impact on the Greek economy, the Government in March 1997 announced that it would invite the social partners to a process of social dialogue on a set of three themes: development, competitiveness and employment. The first meeting is scheduled to take place towards the end of May. Participants in the dialogue include representatives of Ministries, employer and employee organisations from both the private and the public sectors and the Chambers of Commerce, amongst others.
  • Government agrees on principles of training guarantee for long-term unemployed people

    The Finnish Government has recently agreed on some of the principles of a "training guarantee" scheme, starting with funding for a training allowance for long-term unemployed people.
  • Controversy surrounds social security financing

    In the Netherlands, there has been a long struggle over how responsibilities for administering social security should be divided between social partners and the government. The Dutch social security administration has been reorganised - most recently from March 1997 - under pressure of criticism about organisations in which the social partners play a dominant role. Financing the social security system has become a structural problem in the relations between the Government and the social partners. This has become especially manifest in conflicts concerning the level at which social security contributions should be set.
  • EU continues to feel impact of Renault crisis

    In the wake of Renault's announcement of the closure of its plant at Vilvoorde (EU9703108F [1]) European trade unions, the European Commission and the European Parliament have called for tougher measures to protect the interests of employees in the event of large-scale redundancies, business transfers and relocation. In an address to the European Parliament (EP) in March, Padraig Flynn, the commissioner responsible for industrial relations, employment and social affairs, reminded member state governments that they had rejected such tougher measures in 1992. While he argued that existing legislation covered the situation at Renault, there had to be a serious question mark over the deterrent effect of the level of sanctions currently available. He told MEP s that he would "propose to the Commission that we proceed in the coming weeks with the first stage of consultations with the social partners at European level on this issue and I sincerely hope that we are able, through this action, the strengthen the protection of workers" (reported in RAPID, 11 March). He also pronounced himself in favour of the institution of general rules to complement existing measures, aimed at making information and consultation compulsory at member state level. [1] www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/undefined-working-conditions/the-renault-case-and-the-future-of-social-europe
  • New pay agreement for newspaper distributors

    Pay for 15,000 newspaper distributors has been increased by SEK 2.75 per hour retrospectively from 1 January 1997 and by SEK 0.45 from 1 August 1997, according to the new collective agreement between the Swedish Publishers' Association and the Swedish Transport Workers' Union. The agreement runs for one year. A novel feature of the agreement is that employees from now on have undertaken to distribute periodicals and other items of mail together with the newspapers. The employers have thus achieved one of their important demands.
  • Belgian armed forces announce changes in personnel management

    The Belgian Defence Minister, Jean-Pol Poncelet, has announced measures that will prompt far-reaching changes in the personnel structure of the Belgian armed forces, covering the army, navy and airforce. The policy directly or indirectly affects about 40,000 military personnel. Mr Poncelet's plans are innovative and rather unusual for the armed forces, which are not normally known for their swift changes in organisational structure and personnel management. The Minister feels, however, that the armed forces should not be exempt from moves towards greater flexibility, currently a prominent theme in labour negotiations in Belgium. Moreover, changes in the armed forces can serve as an example for other sectors of the Belgian economy.
  • Nanterre Magistrate's Court suspends the closure of Renault Vilvorde

    After the Brussels Industrial tribunal (BE9704208N [1]), on 4 April it was a French court's turn to find Renault's management guilty of disobeying the law in a ruling which could well postpone the closure of the Vilvorde plant. [1] www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/tribunal-decision-annuls-renault-closure
  • April 1997 a good month for UK car plants

    April 1997 was a very good month for securing the future of British car plants. The Ford Halewood plant on Merseyside and the Peugeot Ryton plant in Coventry have both secured the production of new vehicles into the next century. The future of Rover's Longbridge plant is in the balance while an announcement is delayed over whether a new model /Mini/ will be produced.
  • Krupp-Hoesch/Thyssen merger intensifies debate on future of German stakeholder capitalism

    Just one week after the German social partners and Government found a compromise on the future development of the German mining industry (DE9703104F [1]) the Ruhr region (one of Germany's oldest industrial areas) was again the focus of social conflict. On 18 March 1997 the second-largest German steel producer, Krupp-Hoesch, announced plans for a hostile takeover of its main competitor, Thyssen. Krupp-Hoesch made an offer to the Thyssen shareholders to buy their shares for DEM 435 each, which was about 25% higher than the current quotation on the German stock exchange. The president of Krupp-Hoesch, Gerhard Cromme, stated that the acquisition of Thyssen would create a lot of synergy effects, and could help to improve the international competitiveness of the German steel industry. [1] www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/undefined/miners-revolt-ends-in-corporatist-compromise

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