In May 2003 after only three rounds of talks, the Mining, Chemicals and
Energy Industrial Union (Industriegewerkschaft Bergbau, Chemie, Energie, IG
BCE) and the German Federation of Chemicals Employers' Associations
(Bundesarbeitgeberverband Chemie, BAVC) signed a package of new collective
agreements for the 580,000 or so employees in the German chemicals industry.
The package includes: a new pay agreement; an amendment to the working time
agreement; a new collective agreement on training; and a new agreement on
increasing the number of apprenticeship and training places.
Agriculture remains an important part of the Dutch economy, accounting for
around 10% of GDP . The sector is currently undergoing major changes in terms
of production, markets and technology, with important implications for
employment. This article examines industrial relations in agriculture,
looking at the social partners, the unique system of bipartite 'commodity
boards', collective bargaining and the key issues of casual labour and health
Foresight is an important tool in policy analysis, and encompasses a wide spectrum of methods and approaches. This handbook tackles the major questions that have to be considered in embarking upon knowledge society foresight. It does so largely in a question-and-answer format. The handbook is neither an essay on knowledge society foresight nor is it simply a toolkit of ways to think about long-term futures. It is a guide to foresight and to making decisions to undertake activity in the field. It is illustrated with some examples drawn from relevant activities around the world, while a series of annexes provide more discussion, essays and resource materials for those wishing to pursue matters more deeply.
In 1997, the European Council called for a high-level group to examine the economic and social implications of industrial change. With the full support of the European Parliament, Commission and social partners, it proposed the creation of the European Centre on Monitoring Change (EMCC) within the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. The EMCC’s mission is to cast a spotlight on the economic and social developments that drive change in the European economy. It highlights changes resulting from shifts in technology, work organisation, production and business models, legislation, working practices and the labour market. Using research and analysis, EMCC provides companies, the social partners, public authorities and European institutions with the data and qualitative information they need in order to manage the consequences of such change.
During recent years, two developments on the Bulgarian labour market have
caused particular concern among the authorities and social partners - the use
of hired labour without a signed employment contract, and the widespread
practice of employers paying social insurance contributions only on the basis
of the national minimum wage, rather than on employees' actual pay. The
present government has recently introduced two new inter-related measures -
both long demanded by trade unions - adding to the efforts of previous
governments to reduce the extent of these two problems. The National Council
for Tripartite Partnership (NCTP) has agreed these measures, which are:
mandatory registration of employment contracts with the National Social
Security Institute (NSSI); and the introduction of minimum social insurance
thresholds, higher than the national minimum wage and set at different levels
for the various economic sectors and the occupations.
The Act on Data Protection in Working Life  (477/2001) came into force on
1 October 2001 (FI0106191F ), governing the protection of personal data in
the employment context. However, it lacked clear rules in a number of areas,
such as employers’ rights to conduct drug tests on job applicants and
employees, use video surveillance at the workplace and open employees’
e-mails while they are absent. On the initiative of parliament, the Ministry
of Labour soon afterwards set up a working group to prepare proposals for
legislation in these areas. The group included members from the Ministry of
Social Affairs and Health, the Ministry of Transport and the Data Protection
Ombudsman (Tietosuojaviranomaiset), as well as representatives of trade
unions and employers’ organisations. It published its unanimous report on
26 June 2003.
On 28 June 2003, the German Metalworkers' Union (Industriegewerkschaft
Metall, IG Metall) called off a four-week strike in the eastern German
metalworking industry, after failing in its attempts to negotiate a 35-hour
working week (down from the current 38 hours) with employers' associations,
amid widespread opposition to the action in the federal government, amongst
the general public and, indeed, in the union's ranks (DE0307204F ). IG
Metall's defeat has revived the debate on the future of collective bargaining
The Austrian Trade Union Federation (Österreichischer Gewerkschaftsbund,
ÖGB) enjoys a de facto monopoly of trade union representation, and Austrian
trade unionism is thus characterised by a notably high degree of unity and
coherence. ÖGB is currently divided into 13 member unions which together
cover all branches of the economy. Their membership domains are, in general,
complementary, though not in the strict sense that only one union always
covers any given sector or company. In the private sector, six blue-collar
workers' unions and one white-collar union coexist. Furthermore, there are
two unions which represent both blue- and white-collar workers - in the arts,
media, sports and liberal professions and in the printing, journalism and
paper industry respectively. The pattern of union representation in the
public sector mirrors the structure of the employing public authorities.
Accordingly, there are separate unions for central and regional government
and for local government. Separate unions also exist for former public
enterprises - ie postal services and telecommunications companies and the
Austrian Federal Railways (Österreichische Bundesbahnen, ÖBB) - which are
undergoing a transition period due to liberalisation and privatisation.
An agreement on the reform of pay and conditions of employment covering a
million National Health Service (NHS) staff was concluded at the end of 2002
(UK0303104F ), and ratified later in membership ballots held by trade
unions (UK0306103N ). Separate negotiations between the government health
departments, NHS employers and the British Medical Association (BMA) - a
powerful professional association and the main trade union for more than
100,000 doctors - proved to be more difficult. The negotiation and
ratification of new contracts for 43,000 local doctors (general practitioners
or GPs), and for 27,000 hospital consultants and specialist registrars,
exposed serious tensions within the BMA and in its relationship with
government ministers. This feature first explores the completed contract
negotiations for GPs. It then outlines the main elements of a tentative
agreement on a new contract for hospital consultants reached on 17 July. If
this is accepted in a ballot of BMA members in August, it will end the threat
of industrial action by hospital doctors.
On 28 June 2003, a dispute over the introduction of a 35-hour working week in
the eastern German metalworking industry ended when the German Metalworkers'
Union (Industriegewerkschaft Metall, IG Metall) called off a four-week after
negotiations finally broke down without any agreement being reached. The
negotiating parties on the employers' side were the federal employers'
association for the German metalworking and electrical industry,
Gesamtmetall, and two regional employers' associations for the metalworking
industry in the eastern states (Länder) of Berlin, Brandenburg and Saxony -
Verband der Metall- und Elektroindustrie in Berlin und Brandenburg (VME) and
Verband der Sächsischen Metall- und Elektroindustrie (VSME).
The European Restructuring Monitor (ERM) has reported on the employment impact of large-scale business restructuring since 2002. This publication series include the ERM reports, as well as blogs, articles and working papers on restructuring-related events in the EU27 and Norway.
Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) paints a wide-ranging picture of Europe at work across countries, occupations, sectors and age groups. This series consists of findings from the European Working Conditions Telephone Survey (EWCTS) 2021, an extraordinary edition conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey was first carried out in 1990.
This publication series gathers all overview reports on developments in working life, annual reviews in industrial relations and working conditions produced by Eurofound on the basis of national contributions from the Network of Eurofound Correspondents (NEC). Since 1997, these reports have provided overviews of the latest developments in industrial relations and working conditions across the EU and Norway. The series may include recent ad hoc articles written by members of the NEC.
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.
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).
In 2022, the European Semester was streamlined to integrate the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) established on 19 February 2021 (Regulation (EU) 2021/241). While facing the geopolitical and economic challenges triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Member States have been implementing the national Recovery and Resilience Plans (RRPs) for more than one year and around 100 billion euro in RRF funds have already been disbursed.
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.
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.
This paper provides an analytical summary of state of the art academic and policy literature on the impact of climate change and policies to manage transitions to a carbon neutral economy on employment, working conditions, social dialogue and living conditions. It maps the key empirical findings around the impact of climate change and the green transitions on jobs, sectors, regions and countries in Europe, identifying the opportunities and risks that climate change policies bring to European labour markets.
This report explores the drivers of economic and social convergence in Europe, using a selected set of economic and social indicators to examine trends in the performance of individual Member States. It also investigates what role the Economic and Monetary Union plays in convergence, particularly in southern and eastern Member States. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on convergence is analysed and initial conclusions are drawn about the impact of EU recovery packages and their ability to prevent divergence.
As economies emerge from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, labour shortages are becoming increasingly evident. These include shortages exacerbated by the crisis in some sectors and professions where they had been endemic for some time. This report will look at measures implemented at national level to tackle labour shortages in the health, care and information and communications technology sectors, as well as those arising from the twin digital and green transitions.
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 COVID-19 pandemic triggered an extraordinary level of provision of social services across the EU. Healthcare and care providers carried much of the burden and, together with essential services, played a crucial role in getting citizens through the crisis. This report explores how public services adapted to the new reality and what role was played by the digital transformation of services. The aim is to contribute to the documentation and analysis of changes in funding, delivery and use of healthcare and social services during the pandemic.
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.