During 2003, Italian trade unions - and especially the Cisl confederation -
have been repeatedly threatened and attacked by terrorist groups (with 43
such attacks, including 12 fire-bombings, recorded between July 2002 and May
2003). The minister of the interior has highlighted the threat to unions in
parliament and in June the three main confederations agreed a united response
to the attacks.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer’s budget statement on 9 April 2003
contained a commitment to introduce measures to ensure that pay systems in
the public services become more responsive to differences in labour market
conditions between the UK’s regions. In particular, the pay review bodies
which determine levels of pay for 40% of the public service workforce would
have a new remit to take into account regional and local factors. To augment
the economic data available to negotiators and pay review bodies, the
government also announced plans to publish regional inflation figures.
Supporting its proposals, the government cited evidence from its 2002 review
of the public sector labour market which showed that wages in the public
sector vary far less than those in the private sector. The review found that
'public-sector workers outside of London are probably better paid than their
private-sector counterparts. But those in London are worse off than
equivalent workers in the private sector' (quoted in the /Financial Times/,
11 April 2003). The review concluded that the problem lay with national pay
bargaining and review body arrangements.
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.
In June 2003, the Cologne Institute for Business Research (Institut der
deutschen Wirtschaft, IW ) published a report which finds that a 40-hour
working week (or longer) is still a reality for 44% of all employees in
eastern Germany. Moreover, only slightly more than one-fifth of all west
German employees have a 35-hour week, while over half work 38 hours a week or
more. The figures - see table 1 below - indicate that the 35-hour week is
less common in Germany than is commonly thought.
New legislation adopted in May 2003 makes important changes to the employment
conditions and status of Luxembourg's 21,000 civil servants. For example,
civil servants will now find it easier to work part time and will have a more
transparent disciplinary procedure. The age limit for starting work in the
civil service has been raised from 40 to 45 years of age, teleworking is now
possible, and equality delegates are to be appointed in all administrative
In late April 2003, the management of the Arcelor steel group and trade
unions at Cockerill Sambre, its subsidiary in Wallonia, Belgium, reached
agreement on the gradual closure of the company's blast furnaces in Liège.
This feature examines the changing objectives and strategies of management,
the unions and the Walloon regional government during the affair, and
outlines Arcelor's latest investment project in Wallonia along with a number
of unresolved problems.
At the annual Conference on the Family held at the end of April 2003, the
French government announced a number of new family policy measures. Notably
it is to introduce in 2004 a new benefit for parents of young children,
replacing a number of existing schemes. The reaction of the social partners
has been mixed.
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.'
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.
This publication consists of individual country reports on working life during 2021 for 28 countries – the 27 EU Member States and Norway. The country reports summarise evidence on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on working life based on national research and survey results during 2021. They outline the policy responses of governments and social partners in their efforts to cushion the socioeconomic effects and include a focus on policy areas related to adapting to the pandemic and the return to work.
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.
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.