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

13815 items found
  • Road transport strike: consequences for industry and trade

    February 1997 saw a major strike in Spain's road transport sector. The dispute was well supported, mainly in the north of the country, but was called off without winning many concessions from the Government.
  • "Social chapter" takes centre stage in the election run-up

    As the 1 May election date draws nearer, both the Conservative Government and the main opposition party, Labour, have begun to fight their campaigns by taking opposite stances on the social policy Agreement annexed to the Maastricht Treaty on European Union - the so-called "social chapter", from which the UK has "opted out". In February, the Government launched an attack, stating that if the Labour Party were to win the general election, its commitment to "signing up" to the social chapter would cost the UK 500,000 jobs.
  • A new wave of strikes in Greece

    The end of 1996 and the first two months of 1997 were marked by a wave of strikes that began last November and December, upsetting the relative industrial calm that had existed over recent years. The strikes peaked during January but continued throughout February, for at least certain groups of employees, though by then they had begun to peter out. The strikes represent basically a head-on clash with the Government's policy of austerity, and focus primarily on discontent with the tax system and a recently-passed tax law. This clash also acquired a political character, since the demands of workers across various sectors converged and merged within the wider context of discontent.
  • Railways' operating functions and network responsibilities to be split

    A new company, Réseau Ferré de France, has taken over the ownership and running of France's railways.
  • Bargaining in 1996 - from the Employment Alliance to the sick pay dispute

    The Institute for Economics and Social Science (Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliches Institut, WSI) has recently published its annual examination of the previous collective bargaining round. It paints a rather mixed picture of 1996, a year in which collective bargaining was overshadowed by continuing relatively poor economic performance and a further increase in unemployment. GDP grew by only 1.4% over the year, while at the end of the year more than 4 million people were officially registered as unemployed.
  • Public sector pay policies

    Three independent pay review bodies were created more than 25 years ago in what has been described as an attempt "to remove a range of highly sensitive settlements from the political arena" (P Bassett, /The Times,/ 7 February 1997). They recommended pay increases for doctors and dentists, the most senior grades in the armed forces, the civil service and the judiciary, and for the rest of the armed forces. The pay review system assumed greater importance when it was extended to cover nearly 500,000 nurses, midwives and other health service professionals in 1983 and a similar number of schoolteachers in England and Wales in 1992. In both cases, the creation of pay review bodies followed lengthy disputes and a history of repeated failure of the negotiating machinery to produce agreement on pay settlements without frequent arbitration or periodic special enquiries.
  • Commission report links employee financial participation and productivity

    In January 1997, the European Commission adopted a report on the Promotion of Participation by Employed Persons in Profits and Enterprise Results, including equity participation (PEPPER II). The report suggests that profit-sharing schemes lead to higher productivity, whatever method, model specification and data are used. The macroeconomic situation was found to have little effect on government or social partner support for such schemes, but recent debates relating to enhancing productivity and wage flexibility are stimulating discussions on proposals. However, in most member states, trade unions can be expected to oppose the use of financial participation schemes to promote wage flexibility.
  • Strikes hit 60-year high

    Figures from the Confederation of Norwegian Business and Industry ( Næringslivets Hovedorganisasjon or NHO) show that over 530,000 working days were lost in industrial conflict during the 1996 wage negotiations. These figures cover only private sector companies which are members of NHO, but nearly all industrial conflicts in 1996 took place within this area. This is the highest number of working days lost since 1986, when Norway experienced a major lockout in the private sector. In 1996, lawful strikes accounted for all the lost working days, and the number of working days lost in strikes alone (ie, excluding lock-outs) is thus the highest since the 1930s. The major strikes all came in the private sector and among unions affiliated to the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (Landsorganisasjonen i Norge, or LO). The Government did not, as often before, intervene to stop strikes with compulsory arbitration. Three strikes accounted for the majority of lost working days. These came in the metal industry, the hotel and restaurant industry and in the electrical installation industry.
  • Italian railways brought into line with European model

    The agreement was concluded on 11 February 1997 and sets out the ways in which the financial recovery, growth and modernisation of the Italian rail system will be brought about in line with the guidelines of the 1991 Directive on the development of Community railways (440/91/EEC). The deal was signed by the Ministry of Transport, the state railways board (FS), and the following railway trade union organisations: CGIL (the General Confederation of Italian Workers); CISL (the Italian Confederation of Workers' Unions); UIL (the Union of Italian Workers); the three confederations' respective sectoral organisations - Filt-Cgil, Fit-Cisl and Uilt-Uil; and three non-confederal organisations - Fisafs-Cisal (the autonomous rail trade union), Comu (theUnited Train Drivers' Committee) and Sma ( the Train Drivers' Trade Union).
  • A "multicoloured" march for jobs: the human element first

    On Sunday 2 February 1997, a so-called "multicoloured march for jobs" drew about 50,000 people from all over Belgium to the streets of Clabecq, a small industrial town on the borders of the provinces of Brabant and Hainaut.

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