- 9 september 2021
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
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.'
On 8 May 2003, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled (in case C-171/01
 /Wählergruppe Gemeinsam Zajedno v Birlikte Alternative und Grüne
GewerkschafterInnen/UG/) that the Republic of Austria must allow employees of
Turkish nationality to be eligible to stand as candidates for election to the
general assembly of the Chamber of Labour (Arbeiterkammer, AK). The judgment
resulted from a case referred by the Austrian Constitutional Court
(Verfassungsgerichtshof, VfGH) to the ECJ for a preliminary ruling in March
2001. The VfGH - Austria's highest court for matters including elections to
statutory representative bodies in the industrial relations field, such as
the Chamber of Labour - had referred the matter to the ECJ since the former's
members had been undecided as to whether Community law was in conflict with
the Austrian legislation which excludes workers who are citizens of countries
outside the European Economic Area (EEA) from eligibility to stand for
election as officers in the Chamber of Labour (AT9802168N ).
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.
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 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:
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).
Dans l’Union européenne, l’année 2002 a en général été marquée par
un ralentissement de la croissance économique, une hausse du chômage et une
recrudescence de l’inflation. Il n’est pas surprenant dans ce contexte
que les salaires - et notamment les appels à la modération salariale -
aient revêtu autant sinon davantage d’importance dans les relations
industrielles. Par ailleurs, l’évolution des salaires a plus que jamais
été un thème phare en 2002, année où l’Union économique et monétaire
(UEM) de l’UE est entrée dans une nouvelle phase avec l’introduction des
billets et des pièces en euros dans les 12 pays de la 'zone euro'. Les
avancées de l’UEM impliquent que les pays de la zone euro ne pouvant plus
utiliser les taux de change et les taux d’intérêt comme moyens de
compensation des déséquilibres des performances économiques, la politique
salariale a dû jouer un rôle de plus en plus important pour corriger ces
déséquilibres. En outre, dans le cadre de l’UEM, l’évolution des
salaires constitue un facteur clé pour déterminer si l’économie de
l’UE connaît une tendance inflationniste ou déflationniste.
L’introduction de l’euro a par ailleurs amélioré la transparence en
matière de comparaison des niveaux de salaire en Europe.
In der gesamten Europäischen Union war 2002 generell ein Jahr, in dem sich
das Wirtschaftswachstum verlangsamte, die Arbeitslosigkeit zunahm und sich
die Inflation verstärkte. Es ist nicht überraschend, dass in diesem Kontext
die Entlohnung - und insbesondere Aufforderungen in Bezug auf maßvolle
Lohnforderungen - ihre zentrale Bedeutung für die Arbeitsbeziehungen behielt
und sogar noch ausbaute. Zudem standen im Jahr 2002 die Lohnentwicklungen
stärker als je zuvor im Brennpunkt des Interesses, da in diesem Jahr die
Wirtschafts- und Währungsunion (WWU) der EU mit der Einführung von
Euro-Banknoten und -Münzen in den zwölf Ländern des 'Euro-Gebiets' in eine
neue Phase trat. Der Fortschritt der WWU bedeutet, dass sich die
Aufmerksamkeit mehr und mehr auf die Entlohnung als Mittel für die Anpassung
an wirtschaftliche Ungleichgewichte richten wird, da die Länder des
Euro-Gebiets für derartige Anpassungen keine Wechselkurse und Zinssätze
mehr verwenden können. Ferner sind innerhalb der WWU die Lohnentwicklungen
ein Schlüsselfaktor dafür, ob sich die Wirtschaft der EU in Richtung einer
Inflation oder einer Deflation entwickelt. Durch die Einführung des Euro
sind Lohnvergleiche innerhalb Europas auch transparenter geworden.
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.
Access to essential services for people on low incomes: Energy, public transport and digital communicationsForthcoming
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.