A seminar on corporate social responsibility (CSR) held in Portugal in June
2003 aimed to promote debate on the issue with a view to improving
understanding of the principles and practices involved. The occasion
presented the social partners with an opportunity to give their views on CSR,
and they all stressed that one of the prerequisites in Portugal is respect
for existing laws on economic activity, employment and the environment.
The comparative study was compiled on the basis of individual national
reports submitted by EIRO's national centres. The text of each of these
national reports is available below in Word format. The reports have not been
edited or approved by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living
and Working Conditions. The national reports were drawn up in response to a
questionnaire  and should be read in conjunction with it.
Die Arbeitskosten, also alle Aufwendungen, die einem Arbeitgeber durch die
Beschäftigung von Arbeitskräften entstehen, bilden zweifellos den Dreh- und
Angelpunkt der Arbeitsbeziehungen. Zu den Hauptbestandteilen der
Gesamtarbeitskosten, wie sie Eurostat im Einklang mit der von der
International Conference of Labour Statisticians vereinbarten internationalen
Begriffsbestimmung  definierte, zählen die Arbeitnehmerentgelte (darunter
Löhne und Gehälter), die Sozialbeiträge der Arbeitnehmer, Aufwendungen
für die berufliche Bildung und Steuern zu Lasten des Arbeitsgebers. Die
Höhe des Direktentgelts wird in den meisten europäischen Ländern in
Tarifverhandlungen festgelegt oder von diesen stark beeinflusst. Zugleich
nehmen die Sozialpartner in zahlreichen Ländern (über Verhandlungen oder
auf anderem Wege) auch auf Faktoren wie die Höhe der
Arbeitgebersozialbeiträge oder die Aufwendungen für die berufliche Bildung
Einfluss. Man könnte also mit Fug und Recht behaupten, dass es bei den
Arbeitsbeziehungen zu einem großen Teil um die Festlegung der Arbeitskosten
Measures implemented by companies to help their employees in reconciling work
and family responsibilities are still relatively rare in Italy. However, the
findings of a survey, published in 2003, highlight a number of interesting
'family-friendly' schemes introduced by Italian companies in recent years.
The survey indicates that these companies provide a varied mix of measures,
including innovative working time arrangements and telework, company services
for families and childcare, allowances and benefits, and specific
career-support measures for employees with family commitments.
Hungary, with an average per capita GDP of less than 75% of the EU average,
expects to use approximately HUF 1,100 billion to HUF 1,600 billion (EUR 4.4
billion to EUR 6.4 billion) of money from the Community Structural and
Cohesion Funds – Hungarian co-financing included – over the period
between its accession to the Union on 1 May 2004 and the end of 2006.
Pursuant to EU Council Regulation (EC) No. 1260/1999  laying down general
provisions on the Structural Funds, eligible countries are expected to
prepare their development objectives and priorities in the framework of
National Development Plans (NDPs) and submit them to the European Commission.
These NDPs will be the basis for discussions with the Commission which will
produce Community Support Frameworks (CSFs) containing the financial
commitments of the EU and the government of the recipient country concerning
spending on jointly financed development areas. According to Article 8 of the
Council Regulation, partnership between the national government and social as
well as civil actors is a key component of the Plans. The application of the
principle of partnership should be extended to the preparation, financing,
monitoring and evaluation of Community grants.
In May 2003, Schiesser Pallas, a subsidiary of the German apparel
multinational, Schiesser AG, announced that it was to close down its sewing
operations in Greece, citing relatively high labour costs compared with
countries such as Bulgaria and Romania. Despite detailed trade union
counter-proposals, consultations failed to produce results and 500
redundancies are expected soon.
The major industrial dispute over a new collective agreement for blue-collar
workers in the municipal and city council sector (SE0305101N ) was due to
escalate in the first week of June 2003. Some 47,000 members of the Municipal
Workers' Union (Svenska Kommunalarbetareförbundet, Kommunal) were already on
indefinite strike across the country since the previous week and the union
gave notice of a further strike from 4 June by 18,000 bus drivers in Sweden's
three largest cities. Stockholm, Göteborg and Malmö, plus 137
municipalities (out of 290), were thus due to be hard hit by industrial
action. The Union of Service and Communication (Facket för Service och
Kommunikation, Seko) had also given notice of a sympathy strike by all 400
train drivers on commuter services in the three cities, adding to the
expected traffic chaos.
January 2003 saw the first genuine strikes organised in Slovakia since it
became independent in 1993 (SK0211103F ). The strikes took place on the
railways as a consequence of long-term disputes between trade unions and
management. Railworkers had previously been on the verge of strike action on
several occasions in recent years. In late 1998 there were calls for a
strike, while in the following year trade unions set a strike date during
lengthy negotiations on pay increases. However, the negotiations led to a
compromise with railways management and the planned strike was cancelled. In
2001, a two-hour strike was announced by the trade unions but cancelled one
hour before it was due to start because of a lack of organisational
In April 2003, a new law on 'social employment' came into force in Poland,
aimed at providing support and employment to up to the country's large number
of people faced with social exclusion, such as long-term unemployed people,
alcoholics and drug addicts, former prisoners, and people with mental
illnesses. The legislation sets up social integration centres to provide
assistance and integration programmes, and creates a system of subsidised
employment to encourage employers to take on people from the target groups.
In the 2003 Dutch collective bargaining round, occupational pension issues
have led to a deadlock in negotiations at a number of major companies,
notably in financial services and industry. Employers want to reform their
pension schemes radically, as shrinking capital reserves and increasing
numbers of claimants have depleted their funds. The Akzo Nobel chemicals
group even wants to hive off its pension fund, making it independent. The
trade unions are fiercely opposed to this plan and other more drastic
austerity measures, but are increasingly prepared to accept a greater use of
average-salary rather than final-salary schemes and a temporary suspension of
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.
Automation and digitisation technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), are undergoing a rapid evolution. This impacts working conditions in a variety of ways and raises a host of new ethical concerns. In recent times, the policy debate surrounding these concerns has become more prominent and has increasingly focused on AI. Key EU policy developments, especially in relation to AI, have shaped the policy debate in many EU Member States, and in some instances they have led to the adoption of new policy initiatives that address these concerns in the context of 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.