The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) announced in April 1997 that
"absenteeism" - the non-attendance of workers who are expected to be at work
- had cost UK business GBP 12 billion in 1996; an average of GBP 533 for
every employee. Just prior to the CBI announcement, the Manufacturing,
Science, Finance (MSF) trade union had announced the results of a survey
which highlighted the lack of a "feel-good" factor among employees due to
increasing job insecurity ("Union survey suggest little 'feel good effect' in
reality", MSF press release (8 April 1997)). These kinds of surveys have
elements in common, yet few acknowledge or even see what the linkages are.
In the retail and distributive sector, each type of shop - conventional
department stores, retail shops, food supermarkets with at least two branches
and independent retail shops - is covered by its own joint committee  and,
depending on its type, its employees work 36, 38 or 40 hours a week, have pay
differentials of between 20%- 25% and the right to be represented by a union
delegation  or not.
In anticipation of the spring 1997 collective bargaining round, pilots at
Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) are considering contributing to the company's
cost-cutting programme by exchanging salaries for share options and an
increased say in company policy. Unions are divided over this exchange.
On 22 April 1997 the European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued a judgment
stating that some provisions of the German Civil Law (Bürgerliches
Gesetzbuch,BGB) as well as the German Labour Court Law
(Arbeitsgerichtsgesetz, ArbGG) offend against the "Council Directive on the
implementation of the principle of equal treatment for men and women as
regards access to employment, vocational training and promotion and working
conditions" (76/207/EEC). The Directive which was adopted by the Council of
Ministers on 9 February 1976 proclaimed that the Member States shall put into
effect the "principle of equal treatment" (§ 1) which means "that there
shall be no discrimination whatsoever on grounds of sex either directly or
indirectly" (§ 2).
Shortages of jobs, alternating periods of employment and unemployment and
lack of job security are the main features of the current employment
situation for young people in Spain. For some of them this is a temporary
situation, but others will find it hard to escape. However, the reform of
labour market procedures that is currently being put before Parliament may go
some way towards improving working conditions.
In its bill, presented to Parliament on 15 April 1997, the Government states
that the policy of austerity which has been in operation for last few years
has been so successful that it is now possible to focus more on its most
important goal - to halve the rate of unemployment to 4% before 2000.
After the Brussels Industrial tribunal (BE9704208N ), on 4 April it was a
French court's turn to find Renault's management guilty of disobeying the law
in a ruling which could well postpone the closure of the Vilvorde plant.
Just one week after the German social partners and Government found a
compromise on the future development of the German mining industry
(DE9703104F ) the Ruhr region (one of Germany's oldest industrial areas)
was again the focus of social conflict. On 18 March 1997 the second-largest
German steel producer, Krupp-Hoesch, announced plans for a hostile takeover
of its main competitor, Thyssen. Krupp-Hoesch made an offer to the Thyssen
shareholders to buy their shares for DEM 435 each, which was about 25% higher
than the current quotation on the German stock exchange. The president of
Krupp-Hoesch, Gerhard Cromme, stated that the acquisition of Thyssen would
create a lot of synergy effects, and could help to improve the international
competitiveness of the German steel industry.
Government plans to amend Finnish legislation to bring it into line with EU
equality law have recently proved controversial with the Finnish
Confederation of Salaried Employees (STTK). Following negotiations, further
discussion of the issue has been postponed to autumn 1997.
On 17 April 1997, the Spanish Parliament endorsed the new convergence
programme released by the Government, the /1997-2000 Stability Plan/.
Employers and unions have expressed certain doubts about this programme: the
employers' associations consider that it is feasible, but do not rule out the
possibility that a severer adjustment will be necessary than expected; the
trade unions suspect that the programme may involve cuts in social
expenditure and have expressed their disagreement with the privatisation plan
that accompanies it.
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 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.
The hospital sector has been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hospitals and their workers are on the frontline in the fight against the virus, and they face a number of significant challenges in terms of resources, work organisation and working conditions. 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?
Given that compliance with lockdown measures is a first line of defence against COVID-19, maintaining trust in institutions is vital to ensure a coordinated, comprehensive and effective response to the pandemic. This report investigates developments in institutional and interpersonal trust across time, with a particular emphasis on the COVID-19 pandemic period and its impact. It examines the link between trust and discontent and investigates the effect of multidimensional inequalities as a driver of distrust.
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.
Lockdown measures and the economic shift following the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a widening of the gender divide between men and women, putting at risk some of the gender equality gains that had been made in previous years. This report analyses changes in the distribution of paid and unpaid work, along with care and domestic responsibilities, among men and women during the crisis. It also explores the impact of the pandemic on the well-being of women and men.
The report provides an overview of the scale of teleworking before and during the COVID-19 crisis and gives an indication of ‘teleworkability’ across sectors and occupations. Building on previous Eurofound research on remote work, the report investigates the way businesses introduced and supported teleworking during the pandemic, as well as the experience of workers who were working from home during the crisis. The report also looks at developments in regulations related to telework in Member States and provides a review of stakeholders’ positions.
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.
The COVID-19 crisis has increased inequality between social groups in health, housing, employment, income and well-being. While a small part of society was able to hold on to or increase its wealth, other groups such as women, young people, older people, people with disabilities, low- and middle-income earners and those with young children were acutely affected by the pandemic. Drawing on current research on how to best measure multidimensional inequality, this report highlights recent trends in inequality in the context of the COVID-19 crisis.
The financial services sector is pertinent for studying the impact of digitalisation, as the main ‘raw material’ of the sector is digitally stored and processed. Process automation in the sector is likely to lead to significant job losses over the next 10 years, as the high street bank presence declines and the online bank presence increasingly accounts for a higher share of overall activity. Such trends have already been identified in bank restructurings captured in Eurofound’s European Restructuring Monitor.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the textiles and clothing 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.