Communiqué is the newsletter of the Foundation It is published 6 times per year and provides up-to-date news and information on the Foundation's work and research. This issue contains the following articles: Better quality jobs will boost EU competitiveness; Social dialogue a vital tool for acceding countries in preparation for EMU; Industrial restructuring for economic and social growth; Understanding the knowledge society; Improving labour protection for economically dependent workers; Changes to the European industrial relations landscape.
The Foundation offers a wide variety of online information sources on the subject of industrial restructuring. This leaflet outlines different facets of restructuring and provides links to a large body of relevant Foundation work on this important subject. Industrial restructuring is a striking feature of the economic landscape in Europe today. Whatever the approach, restructuring represents an attempt at managing and anticipating change, simultaneously tackling issues of economic, social and environmental significance.
In May 2003, a /methods agreement/ was signed between trade unions and
management at GIAT Industries, the French arms manufacturer. The agreement
sets out a procedure and timetable for consultations over a major
restructuring plan involving large-scale job losses which the company
announced in April. In line with this procedure, a draft 'company contract',
outlining the state's commitments and GIAT's plans for the 2003-8 period, was
presented in June and criticised by the unions.
A reform of France's /UNEDIC/ unemployment insurance scheme agreed by
employers' organisations and three trade union confederations in December
2002 will substantially restrict unemployment benefit entitlements when new
eligibility rules come into force on 1 January 2004. In mid-2003, UNEDIC
issued figures indicating that cuts in entitlement will affect between
610,000 and 860,000 people currently in receipt of benefit. These figures
have fuelled new criticism from the union confederations (CGT and CGT-FO),
which did not sign the reform agreement.
In summer 2003, attempts are continuing to redeploy the 3,200 employees of
the French airline, Air Lib, which went into liquidation in February.
Meanwhile, the legal authorities and parliament have both been conducting
investigations into the circumstances surrounding the takeover and subsequent
bankruptcy of the company .
This information sheet offers a brief overview of the Foundation's new research project in the living conditions sphere. The Foundation launched a new pan-European ‘quality of life’ survey in May 2003. This project will provide new information and analysis on living conditions and quality of life issues throughout the 28 countries of the EU and its candidate countries. The first results, to be presented at the end of 2003, will draw on the survey’s findings, together with existing information from a database of comparable EU-wide data.
In May 2003, all companies in the Luxembourg finance sector were asked to
adopt a set of guidelines on tackling sexual harassment and to distribute
them to their workforces. This initiative was launched by organisations
representing the sector's employers, personnel managers and occupational
health services, and includes the creation of a panel of external
confidential advisers to whom employees can refer cases of sexual harassment.
Slovakia is one of the EU candidate countries that have asked for support
within the framework of the EU's PHARE  programme in the reinforcement of
social dialogue and collective bargaining at all relevant levels and in the
implementation of relevant EU Directives into national legislation. Thus, in
2001, representatives from Slovakia, the Netherlands and the UK concluded a
'twinning' covenant for PHARE project SR 0006.01. The twinning involves Dutch
and British experts from governments, employers' organisations and trade
unions transmitting their knowledge and experience to their Slovak
colleagues. The project aims to achieve the following results:
In June 2003, the Portuguese government submitted a draft 'Social contract
for competitiveness and employment' to the social partners, aimed at
achieving convergence with average EU levels of productivity and purchasing
power, combating tax fraud and evasion, and increasing competitiveness. The
government wants employers and trade unions to agree to pay moderation and
biannual wage bargaining, along with investment in innovation and training
and a review of company taxation.
In late 2000, the Swedish government set up a governmental working time
committee (Kommittén för nya arbetstids- och semesterregler, KNAS), with
social partner involvement, to examine the entire system of legislation on
working time and leave and make proposals for reform (SE0101176N ). In
June 2002, the committee issued a report (/SOU 2002:58/) proposing new
legislation to give all workers an additional five days of leave per year
(SE0206105F ). On 17 June 2003, it presented its final report (SOU 2003:54
), calling for a simplification of current rules on annual and other forms
of leave for employees.
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.
Digitisation and automation technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), can affect working conditions in a variety of ways and their use in the workplace raises a host of new ethical concerns. Recently, the policy debate surrounding these concerns has become more prominent and has increasingly focused on AI. This report maps relevant European and national policy and regulatory initiatives. It explores the positions and views of social partners in the policy debate on the implications of technological change for work and employment.
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.
As part of a process to collect information on essential services, the European Commission (DG EMPL) requested Eurofound to provide input on certain aspects of existing and planned measures in the Member States to improve access to essential services, in reference to Principle 20 of the European Pillar of Social Rights. The scope of the exercise included energy services, public transport and digital communications, and the focus was on people at risk of poverty or social exclusion (in practice, people on low incomes in most cases).
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?
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.
This report explores the association between skills use and skills strategies and establishment performance, and how other workplace practices, in terms of work organisation, human resources management and employee involvement, can impact on this. It looks at how skills shortages can be addressed, at least in part, by creating an environment in which employees are facilitated and motivated to make better use of the skills they already have. This further supports the business case for a more holistic approach to management.
The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have varied across sectors, occupations and categories of worker (for instance, according to gender, age or employment status). Hours worked have declined the most in sectors such as accommodation services and food and beverage services, and in occupations heavily reliant on in-person interaction, such as sales work. At the same time, it’s in these sectors that labour shortages have become increasingly evident as labour markets have begun to normalise.
This report focuses on trends and developments in collective bargaining that were evident from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. It examines potential new strategic approaches and priorities incorporated in negotiation agendas, as well as collective bargaining practices and coordination at sector and company levels in the private sector.
This policy brief will provide an update on upward convergence in the economic, social and institutional dimensions of the European Union, as outlined in the European Pillar of Social Rights and its accompanying Social Scoreboard.