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European Industrial Relations Observatory (EIRO)

By Günter Braun

The European Industrial Relations Observatory (EIRO) is a major project of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. It was founded in 1997 on the initiative of the European Commission. EIRO initiates, collects, stores, disseminates and provides access to information and analysis on developments in industrial relations in the 15 EU Member States, plus Norway, and at a European/international level. EIRO is a network, made up of the 16 National Centres and an EU-level Centre, from which information and analysis flows into a central unit at the European Foundation. This information is then processed and entered into a database, EIROnline, which is made available through the Worldwide


The central unit, based at the Foundation in Dublin, is made up of: a management team (responsible for the overall operation of EIRO); an editing unit, made up of a chief editor, plus consultant editors (responsible for the frontline management of EIRO and the network of NCs); a technical unit (responsible for processing information and the creation and maintenance of the database); and an information unit (responsible for information dissemination and enquiry services).
EIRO has a Steering Committee made up of: one representative from each of the four groups on the Foundation's Administrative Board (employers, trade unions, governments and the European Commission); representatives of each of main European-level social partner organisations (ETUC, UNICE and CEEP); and the Directorate of the Foundation. The Steering Committee has been closely involved in the establishment of the Observatory and monitors its operations.

EIRO's objectives and audience

EIRO aims primarily to meet a need in the European Commission and other EU institutions, among national and European-level organisations of the social partners and in governmental organisations, for information and analysis on developments in industrial relations. EIRO seeks to provide this information and analysis in a manner which is comprehensive, authoritative, accurate, up-to-date, contextual, relevant and electronically-based.
EIRO aims to serve the needs of a specific target audience of high-level industrial relations practitioners and policy-makers in EU institutions, trade union and employers' organisations and government departments. The nature of the information and analysis produced by the Observatory is guided by this target group - ie, the approach is essentially practical, providing factual information and pertinent analysis, which is of use to users in their work. The information and analysis collected and stored through EIRO is also of value to a wider group - notably among other practitioners and in the academic and research communities - and access is provided to this group through the EIROnline website.


The basic operation of EIRO is based on a monthly cycle, and on the reporting of events and issues through "in brief" and "feature" items. On top of this, EIRO also conducts comparative research on specific themes.
Each month, the EIRO National Centres submit reports - either "in brief" or "features" - on the most important and topical industrial relations events and issues occurring in their country in that month. In Brief items are short factual articles, providing the relevant facts about a significant event or issue. Features are longer articles. As with in brief items, features set out the main factual elements of the events and issues in question, though the greater length means that more detail can be included. Features also include a commentary, providing an assessment of the event/issue/activity in question. Features cover the most significant industrial relations developments, activities and issues, and those which can benefit most from the greater degree of analysis and background which the longer format allows.
EIRO is an international and comparative project, and its viewpoint is not restricted to individual countries. As well as the comparative theme running through all EIRO's work, EIRO also conducts comparative studies. At regular intervals, National Centres submit information on a specific theme, and its treatment in their country. The information provided by the NCs - sometimes supplemented with relevant material from other Foundation research projects - is used to draw up a comparative overview of the treatment of the theme in question across the EU, and a series of national reports on the subject in a uniform format.

Products and Services

EIROnline contains all in brief, feature and comparative records submitted by the National Centres, edited technically and for content into a uniform format and style. The database thus constitutes a unique information resource on industrial relations in Europe, providing comprehensive coverage of all the most significant events and issues, along with comparative overviews. EIROnline is publicly available on the Worldwide Web.
EIRO issues a regular publication, EIRObserver, both on paper and in electronic PDF format. EIRObserver currently appears every two months and contains an edited selection of in brief and feature items submitted for the database. At regular intervals, EIRObserver also contains "comparative supplements", based on the comparative studies conducted by EIRO. At present, all electronic and printed publications are available in the English language only.

National Centres

Industrial Relations Services
60 Boulevard de la Woluwe, 1200 Brussels
18-20 Highbury Place, London N5 1QP
Andrea Broughton, tel: + 44 207 354 6714, fax: + 44 171 359 4000

Institute of Government, Department of Industrial Sociology, University of Vienna
Bruenner Strasse 72 A-1210 Wien
Bettina Stadler
tel: + 43 1 4277 38 316, fax: 431 4277 38 316

Institut des Sciences du Travail
Place des Doyens 1, 1348 Louvain-La-Neuve
Catherine Delbar
tel: +32 10 474802 , fax: +3210 473914

FAOS, Dept of Sociology, University of Copenhagen
Linnégade 22, 1361 Copenhagen K
Carsten Jørgensen
tel: +45 35 32 32 99, fax: +45 35 32 39 40

Ministry of Labour
Mikonkatu 4, FIN 00100 Helsinki
Juha Hietanen
tel: +358-9-1856 9260, fax:+358-9-1856 9227

Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales
16 boulevard du Mont-d'Est,
93192 Noisy le Grand Cedex
Maurice Braud
tel: +33 1 48 15 18 95, fax: +331 48 15 19 18

Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliches Institut in der Hans-Böckler-Stiftung
Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz 1, D-40227 Düsseldorf
Thorsten Schulten
tel: +49 211 7778 239, fax: +49 211 77 78 250

Labour Institute of the General Confederation of Greek Labour
Emm. Benaki 71A, 10681 Athens
Eva Soumeli
tel: +30 1 33 03 718, fax: +30 133 04 452

Centre for Employment Relations and Organisational Performance
Graduate School of Business, University College Dublin
Carysfort Avenue, Blackrock, Co. Dublin
John Geary
tel: +353 1 706 8974, fax: +353 1 706 8007

Industrial Relations News Report
121-123 Ranelagh, Dublin 6
Brian Sheehan
tel: +353 1 497 2711, fax: +353 1 497 2779

Centro di Studi Economici Sociali e Sindacali
Via Po 102, 00198 ROMA
Marta Santi
tel. +39 06 84242070, Fax: +39 0685355360

Fondazione Regionale Pietro Seveso
Viale Vittorio veneto, 24 I-20124 Milano
Roberto Pedersini
tel: +39 02 290 13 198, fax: +39 02 290 13 262

Istituto di Ricerche Economiche e Sociali Lombardia
Via Pompeo Litta 7, I-20122 Milano
Marco Trentini
tel: +39 02 5411 8860, fax: +39 02 5412 0780

Marc Feyereisen
Cour administrative, 1, rue du Fort Thuengen,
L-1499 Luxembourg
tel: +352 42105 7860, fax: +352 42105 7888

Hugo Sinzheimer Institute
Rokin 84,1012 KX Amsterdam
Robert van het Kaar
tel: +31 20 525 3962, fax: +31 20 525 3648

Fafo Institute for Applied Social Science
PO Box 2947 Toyen, N-0608 Oslo
Kristine Nergaard
tel: +47 226 760 00, fax: +47226 760 22

Palácio dos Condes de Redondo, Rua De Santa Marta 47, P-1150-297 Lisboa
Maria Luisa Cristovam
tel: +351 21 844 14 08, fax: +351 21 317 76 73

Fundació Centre d'Iniciatives i Recerques Europees al la Mediterrània
Travessera de les Corts 39-43 lat, 2ª pl., 08028 Barcelona
Maria Caprile
tel: +349 3 440 1000, fax: +349 3440 4560

Claudia Vallvé
tel: +349 3 440 1000, fax: +349 3 440 4560

QUIT (Grup d'Estudis Sociològics Sobre la Vida Quotidiana i el Treball)
Departament de Sociologia, Edifici B, Campus Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Bellaterra 08193, Barcelona
Clara Llorens
tel: +349 3 581 2405, fax: +349 3581 2827

Arbetslivsinstitutet (National Institute for Working Life)
Warfvingesväg 25, 112 79 Stockholm
Annika Berg, tel: +46 8 730 99 84, fax: +46 8730 95 01

Industrial Relations Research Unit (Warwick Business School)
University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL
Mark Hall, tel: +44 2456 524 273, fax: +44 2476 524 184

Further information:

European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions
Wyattville Road, Loughlinstown, Co. Dublin
Tel.: Enquiries: +353 1 2043229
Fax: +353 1 2826456