This feature is drawn from a report to the Labour Relations Commission,
entitled /Competitive strategies and employee relations in the Irish retail
sector/ and written by Majella Fahy of the Graduate School of Business,
University College Dublin.
The Spanish chemicals sector agreement signed in April 1997 takes into
account the national agreement on labour market reform recently concluded by
unions and employers, with respect to types of employment contract and
temporary employment agencies
A two-year collective agreement was approved by the 225,000 employees in the
government sector (DK9702103N ) and the 662,000 employees in the county
and municipal bargaining area, offering a 4.25% pay increase, wage adjustment
schemes, and improved pension and maternity leave provisions. However the
1997 collective bargaining rounds represented more than adjustments of pay,
pensions and maternity leave; it was, as the Minister of Finance, Mogens
Lykketoft said, "a peaceful wage revolution", introducing a more flexible and
decentralised salary-scale system.
In November 1996, the brewing group Interbrew, the still-expanding leader in
the market, announced the ending of bottling activities at its Belle Vue
Brewery in Molenbeek, an industrial district of Brussels. It meant the loss
of 103 jobs out of 167 in the company's bottling section. Since then,
management had been negotiating a company plan with the unions to avoid
redundancies, and an original solution was eventually found and approved in a
company referendum on 18 April 1997. This solution is based on the terms of a
legislative measure that had been ratified on 13 March 1997, called the
Vandelanotte order after the Flemish Socialist minister: it allows companies
facing difficulties or restructuring to preserve jobs through a reduction of
working time linked to the reduction of social security contributions over
On 7 May, the Dutch Government withdrew a bill that would have allowed
employers exemptions from paying the statutory national minimum wage 
(NL9702103F ). Discussions in Parliament had arrived at a political
On 28 April 1997, the German Public Services, Transport and Traffic Union
(Gewerkschaft Öffentliche Dienste, Transport und Verkehr, ÖTV) and the
German White-Collar Workers' Union (Deutsche Angestellten-Gewerkschaft, DAG)
announced the foundation of a new joint subsidiary union for the employees of
international and European organisations which are located in Germany.
Through the newly established "International Public Servants Organisation"
(IPSO), both unions want to create an effective interest representation for
the employees working in organisations like the European Monetary Institute
in Frankfurt or the European Patent Office in Munich. The foundation of IPSO
should also avoid competition between ÖTV and DAG in the recruitment of
members in international and European organisations, and should lead to a
closer cooperation between the unions. The latter is particularly important
because of the fact that the DAG is the only significant German trade union
which is not a member of the German Federation of Trade Unions (Deutscher
In Greece, temporary work, especially in the form of fixed-term contracts,
constitutes a policy widespread amongst enterprises in both private and
public sectors. Although the phenomenon of temporary work has decreased
considerably in comparison with the early 1990s, when its incidence was twice
that of the EU average (18% and 9% respectively), it is still quite high
(10.5% and 11% respectively). A factor contributing to this decrease was the
decision of the Government in the course of 1990 to dismiss 50,000 temporary
public employees as part of its attempt to rationalise the functioning of the
One of Ireland's smallest banks, the Ulster Bank, is seeking to replace its
incremental-based pay system with a new performance-related reward scheme for
most of its 1,000 staff in the Republic of Ireland. The bank's proposals have
been resisted by members of the banking union, the Irish Bank Officials
Association (IBOA). They have, however, been accepted by its staff in
Northern Ireland who are part of the British industrial relations system.
Total Quality Management (TQM) has been a leading development of the 1990s in
Britain. Surveys find that almost three-quarters of organisations claim to
have formal quality programmes, which are believed to work by increasing
employees' interest in their jobs and their understanding of how their work
contributes to organisational goals. Many of these programmes have been
introduced in the past five years. Definitions of TQM vary but its core
comprises: a focus on the customer; the improvement and inter-linking of
business processes; and continuous improvement ("Making quality critical", A
Wilkinson and H Willmott, eds, London, Routledge, 1995.).
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.
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.
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.
The urban-rural divide in EU countries has grown in recent years, and the depopulation of certain rural areas in favour of cities is a challenge when it comes to promoting economic development and maintaining social cohesion and convergence. Using data from Eurofound and Eurostat, this report will investigate the trends and drivers of the urban-rural divide, in various dimensions: economic and employment opportunities, access to services, living conditions and quality of life.
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.
Adequate, affordable housing has become a matter of great concern, with an alarming number of Europeans with low or lower household incomes unable to access any, especially in capital cities. Housing was a key factor in people’s experience of the COVID-19 pandemic: its quality and level of safety significantly affected how lockdowns and social distancing measures were experienced, with those who had no access to quality housing at higher risk of deteriorating living conditions and well-being.
The use of artificial intelligence, advanced robotics and the Internet of Things technologies in the workplace can bring about fundamental changes in work organisation and working conditions. This report analyses the ethical and human implications of the use of these technologies at work by drawing on qualitative interviews with policy stakeholders, input from the Network of Eurofound Correspondents and Delphi expert surveys, and case studies.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in European sectoral social dialogue taking place at cross-sectoral level. Their relative representativeness legitimises their right to be consulted, their role and effective participation in the European sectoral social dialogue and their capacity to negotiate agreements. The aim of this Eurofound’s study on representativeness is to identify the relevant national and European social partner organisations at cross-sectoral level in the EU Member States.