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This report is based on the second EQLS carried out in 2007-8 and offers a wideranging view of the diverse social realities in the 27 Member States, as well as covering Norway and the candidate countries of Turkey, Macedonia and Croatia. The report presents the views and experiences of people living in Europe across a set of key domains: employment and income, family and community life, health and housing. It looks at factors influencing wellbeing and happiness and reflects people’s views on the quality of the society in which they live.
Maltese law already provides for the European minimum of 14 weeks of
maternity leave, paid in full by employers. The employers’ associations
dislike the new proposal because they say it would, according to a study 
conducted by the Malta Business Bureau (MBB ), cost the employers an extra
€12 million annually. MBB says this would damage the competitiveness of the
Maltese economy and accuses the European Parliament of being ‘detached from
the signs of time’. The bureau also fears it could be fatal for Maltese
small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which play a vital role in the
The pact on apprenticeships (/Ausbildungspakt/) was introduced in 2004 by the
federal government and representatives of German employers and business
organisations to avoid the introduction of a training levy which was being
discussed by the governing coalition at that time (*DE0407105F* ). The
pact was extended for the first time in 2007 (*DE0802029I* ). It was
extended again, on 26 October 2010, until 2014.
The Social and Economic Council (SER ) issued its first recommendations on
the position of the self-employed person  in September 2010. SER
identified a 33% increase in the number of self-employed workers over the
past decade: at over 675,000 people this amounted to around 9% of the
national workforce in 2009.
A joint programme for securing employment and economic growth compiled by
social partners in Finland was released in mid October. Labour market
organisations are particularly pleased that the scope of discussion has been
extended from the statutory minimum age of retirement towards a wide-ranging
discussion on the length of working life.
So far, new collective agreements for approximately 300,000 employees have
been made this autumn in Finland. The autumn 2010 bargaining round has been
taking place in the context of a severe economic crisis which has weakened
the competitiveness of many Finnish companies. At the same time, the overall
economy and exports have started to grow again. In 2009, average employee
earnings increased by 3.9%, although Finland experienced a sharp drop in
gross domestic product (GDP) of about 8%.
In the last quarter of 2010, the public dialogue on the future of air
carriers in Cyprus intensified, along with government’s efforts to retain
one state-run national carrier, in view of the political decision to
irrevocably shut down state-run Eurocypria on 13 November 2010 (the day
coinciding with the end of the company’s summer flight schedule). Meetings
between the Ministry of Finance and union representatives at both Eurocypria
and Cyprus Airways , which had begun the previous month, continued during
This report presents some descriptive findings of Eurofound’s European Company Survey (ECS) 2009 on the structure of industrial relations and social dialogue as well as working time patterns in the commerce sector in Europe. Collective bargaining coverage and the degree of employee representation in the commerce sector is generally low compared with cross-sectoral national averages, but the deviation from the respective country average is much higher in countries with a low general coverage rate. Trade union membership is also lower in the commerce sector.
Three researchers (Seamus McGuinness, Elish Kelly and Philip O’Connell)
from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI ) have assessed the
impact of institutional wage bargaining arrangements on average labour costs
 in the private sector in Ireland. The results of their study were
published in the October 2010 edition of /Industrial Relations/ in a paper
entitled, The impact of wage bargaining regime on firm-level competitiveness
and wage inequality: the case of Ireland . The study analysed data from
6,500 private sector companies drawn from the 2003 National Employment Survey
(1.79Mb PDF)  of the Central Statistics Office (CSO ).