On 13 June 2003, the Norwegian government issued a proposal for new
legislation relating to gender quotas on company boards. The aim is to
achieve a 40% share of female board members in both larger private firms and
public enterprises. The proposed legislation would be made applicable to
private companies only if they fail voluntarily to achieve an acceptable
level of female representation on their boards. The government's proposal
comes against the backdrop of an increasing awareness of the low presence of
women on company boards in Norway. The government sees this as an equal
opportunities issue and argues that the business and industry community is
not doing enough to avail itself of the competences and qualifications of
both women and men.
Since autumn 2002, trade unions representing staff employed in the French
state education system have been taking industrial action in opposition to
the government’s planned reforms in areas including pensions,
decentralisation and budget cuts. After an 11th day of strike action and
protests on 10 June 2003, the government made some progress in placating the
unions. Whatever the outcome of this dispute, it is probable that the
discontent among teachers, who have been highly mobilised for months, will be
According to a representative survey of 1,001 firms with fewer than six
employees carried out by the Forsa Society for Social Research and
Statistical Analysis (Gesellschaft für Sozialforschung und statistische
Analysen mbH, forsa ) in March 2003, many small firms of this size have
encountered difficulties owing to Germany's dismissal protection 
legislation over the past five years. The protective legislation currently
applies to employers with more than five employees. The survey finds that
since 1998, among firms with four or five employees, 14% and 15% respectively
have had negative experiences related to this legislation. One in seven small
firms in the representative survey state that they have not created new jobs
due to the strict dismissal protection legislation which applies when their
workforce exceeds five. For enterprises with four or five employees, which
would be most immediately affected if they employed additional staff, this
figure increases to 27% and 31% respectively - see the table below.
In March 2003, the Institute for Economic and Social Research within the Hans
Böckler Foundation (Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliches Institut in
der Hans-Böckler-Stiftung, WSI) presented the first results of its third
works and staff council survey (published in a special issue  of
/WSI-Mitteilungen/, Vol. 56, No. 3, 2003). The survey was carried out in
summer 2002 and included a representative sample of establishments with 20 or
more employees. The principal aim of the survey is to give a current overview
of the situation of works council  s and (public sector) staff council 
s in Germany and to monitor industrial relations at establishment level. A
special evaluation of the survey data provides information on implementation
of the 2001 reform of the Works Constitution  Act
(Betriebsverfassungsgesetz, BetrVG) (DE0107234F ) with regard to the
promotion of the representation of women on works councils and of equal
opportunities for men and women at company level ('Gleichstellung von Frauen
und Männern in der betrieblichen Interessenvertretung', Christina Klenner
and Christiane Lindecke, in /WSI-Mitteilungen/, Vol. 56, No. 3, 2003).
In March 2002, the central EU-level social partners agreed a 'framework of
actions  ' for the lifelong development of competencies and qualifications
(EU0204210F ). The signatories were: the European Trade Union
Confederation (ETUC) - whose delegation included representatives of the
liaison committee for managerial and professional staff, which brings
together the ETUC-affiliated Council of European Professional and Managerial
Staff (EUROCADRES) and the independent European Confederation of Executives
and Managerial Staff (CEC); the Union of Industrial and Employers'
Confederations of Europe (UNICE), in cooperation with the European
Association of Craft and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (UEAPME); and the
European Centre of Enterprises with Public Participation and of Enterprises
of General Economic Interest (CEEP). The framework identified the following
four priority areas for action:
The issue of company directors’ pay is highly topical in the UK following
regulations in 2002 to introduce a clearer role for shareholders (UK0111101N
). With greater transparency has come controversy over the links between
boardroom pay and corporate performance. In June 2003, the government issued
a consultative document looking at best practice and legislative options
concerning directors’ severance payments, with trade unions calling for a
tougher regulatory framework.
A meeting of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs
Council was held in Luxembourg on 2-3 June 2003 under the Greek Presidency.
Ministers debated a range of employment and social policy issues, with
varying degrees of success.
The government announced in May 2003 that it intends to introduce legislation
on corporate manslaughter, with details to follow in the autumn. The home
secretary, David Blunkett, said: 'there is great public concern at the
criminal law's lack of success in convicting companies of manslaughter where
a death has occurred due to gross negligence by the organisation as a whole.
The law needs to be clear and effective in order to secure public confidence
and must bite properly on large corporations whose failure to set or maintain
standards causes a death.'
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) held its10th statutory congress
 in Prague on 26-29 May 2003, under the slogan 'Make Europe work for the
people'. ETUC currently has 78 member organisations (national trade union
confederations and centres) from 34 countries in western, central and eastern
Europe, as well as 11 sectoral European industry federations, making a total
of 60 million affiliated members. The congress is the supreme authority of
ETUC and meets every four years (the ninth congress was held in 1999 -
EU9907182F ). The congress is composed of delegates from the affiliated
organisations in proportion to their membership. It elects the members of the
executive committee, the president, the general secretary and the two deputy
This article outlines a range of initiatives being undertaken by the UK's
Trades Union Congress (TUC) and its affiliated unions aimed at combating
disability discrimination and promoting equal rights for workers with
disabilities, in the context of 2003 being designated by the EU as the
European Year of People with Disabilities  (EU0209201N ), and
European-level social partner statements in this area.
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.
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, conducted in three rounds – in April and July 2020 and in March 2021. This is complemented by the inclusion of research into the ongoing effects of the pandemic in much of Eurofound’s other areas of work.
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.
Research into the transformative potential of the digital revolution tends to take a quantitative approach in an attempt to monitor changes in employment levels due to digitalisation. The fear of potential job losses and negative disruption brought about by digital technologies has permeated the policy debate on digitalisation. In contrast, this report, based on case study research, takes a more qualitative approach to exploring the impact of selected digital technologies (internet of things, 3D printing, and virtual and augmented reality) in the workplace.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the live performance sector. 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 study on representativeness is to identify the relevant national and European social partner organisations in the live performance sector in the EU Member States.
This joint publication with the European Environment Agency (EEA) presents the findings from complementary research carried out simultaneously by both agencies on the socioeconomic impacts of climate policies and measures. While Eurofound focuses particularly on the distributional effects of these policies based on the experiences of Member States, the EEA analyses scientific research about the monetary and non-monetary social impacts of climate mitigation policies and its outcome in terms of inequalities.
This report analyses and compares the industrial relations landscape in a number of sectors and activities that form a public service cluster. The report draws on Eurofound’s recent representativeness studies investigating the following sectors: education, human health, central government administration and local and regional government sector (including social services).
Building on Eurofound’s previous research on youth, this report examines the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on young people, in particular their economic and social situation, with a focus on employment. It will also estimate how the NEET population – young people not in employment, education or training – has changed in size and composition over the last decade, and how the current crisis might affect this.
This study presents policy-relevant findings on differential pay rates for men and women at occupational level. Previous research has underlined that the gender pay gap is biggest – and has been slowest to narrow – in well-paid jobs requiring professional qualifications. These are also jobs in which the female worker share is increasing relatively fast. The report maps the extent of the gender pay gap across the job-wage distribution, taking into account the shifting gender composition of specific sectors, occupations and jobs.
The European Jobs Monitor tracks changes in employment structure and contributes to the debate about whether European labour markets are polarising or upgrading. The European Jobs Monitor report in 2021 looks in particular at two dimensions of change in labour supply – increased female participation and population/workforce ageing – to show how they can contribute to an understanding of recent changes in employment structure.
While often considered staid, social partner organisations have developed different ways of using technology to communicate with their members, as well as to organise, mobilise and develop both internally, among staff, and externally, vis-à-vis members and the public. This topical update maps current practices in social partner organisations, describes developments in the use of technologies, and outlines the impact on social partner activities and organisation.
What have been the major trends and policy developments regarding digitalisation in Europe? What do we know about the deployment of automation, digitisation and the platform economy? This flagship publication provides an overview of developments in Europe in recent years, as well as mapping the observable or expected effects on employment and working conditions, as well as exploring the implications from a policy perspective.
The COVID-19 pandemic radically reshaped workplace practices and work organisation across the EU. This report explores changes that occurred as a result of or during the COVID-19 pandemic in areas such as technological transformation, decision-making and remote working. The research sets out to learn from company experiences and measures that have proved critical to keeping businesses running. It aims to inform policymakers, employers and trade unions on how to make businesses, workplaces and workers more resilient in the face of a crisis such as COVID-19.