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ETUCs campaign for more democracy at work

"Freedom, democracy and social justice are core values of the European Union. Democracy is important; not only on the political but also on the economic level. More Democracy at Work is part of a broader approach for a more Social Europe which is urgently needed." these are ETUC's motives to launch a campaign to press for more workplace democracy and strenghtening of existing structures.

Based on data and facts suggesting that a stronger workers’ voice is associated with lower executive pay, stronger economic performance for companies and better employment levels the ETUC wants to put More Democracy at Work at the centre of the debate. This is particularly relevant on the eve of elections to European Parliament in May 2019 as well as in context of anti-democratic tendencies observed across the entire of EU.

On top of general support for more democracy the ETUC's campaign rests firmly anchored in practical demands: "We want workers’ representatives to be informed and consulted, to have meaningful and timely discussions with management at all relevant levels and to be actively involved in the decision-making process of their companies or organisations before any important decisions are made!"

More information and brochure to download on: https://www.etuc.org/en/issue/more-democracy-work

Focus on Central-Eastern Europe - a trio of events

On 27-29 March 2019 the ETUI's European Workers' Participation Competence Centre organised and co-hosted events focusing on Central-Eastern Europe.

Firstly, a seminar for board-level employee representatives “Workers’participation in corporate governance in Central and Eastern Europe” was organised in Łódź, in its heyday a textile-industry-capital-city of Poland, on 27/03/2019. The seminar aimed to:

  • To learn and share knowledge about national board-level employee representation systems in central and eastern Europe, their regulation, evolution and variations, political debates and positions of actors regarding this form of workers’ participation.
  • To understand the relative importance of the economic, political, institutional and social context for board-level employee representation to become a leverage for workers’ interests.
  • To learn from the exchange of practical experiences of board-level employee representatives in different countries and promote a European network of experts dealing with board-level employee representation in central and eastern European countries.

It filled a pressing void in the understanding of specific challenges and background that employee representatives from this region bring to supervisory and directors' boards across the EU.

Secondly, the ETUI in cooperation with University of Łódź (Department of European and Collective Labour Law, Faculty of Law and Administration, main organiser Dr hab. Dagmara Skupien) organised a scientific conference, yet strongly oriented towards practice: "Workers’ Representation in Europe: are there specific Central and Eastern European perspectives?". The conference featured panels composed of researchers, academics and practitioners from across Europe, who looked at various levels at which specificities, characteristic challenges, limitations and different understandings between workers' representatives from the Western and Central-Eastern parts of the EU occur:

1. Trade Unions, Works Councils – different models of workplace representation

2. East-West comparison of structures

3. Transnational level of workers’ representation (focusing mainly on EWC and SE works councils and transnational company agreements)

4. Panel: EWCs in practice - reflexions of Polish representatives.

Thirdly, Workers' Participation Europe network of ETUI held its regular meeting on the fringe of the above mentioned conference.

Benchmarking Working Europe 2019 is out now

Benchmarking Working Europe, the annual stock-take of European economic, labour market and social affairs has just been published today by the European Trade Union Institute.

This year’s report calls for action to stimulate investment, as well as reforms to fiscal rules to allow policy to play a more active role in stabilising economies and securing sustainable growth. Above all, inequality and insecurity must be tackled through reversing deregulation and reviving collective bargaining. Benchmarking also flags up the longer term challenges of the four ‘megatrends’ of climate and demographic change, digitalisation and globalisation.

Of particular relevance in the current political cycle is the question of democracy at work and its impact on other spheres of democracy at large, economy and company performance. Chapter 4 of the Benchmarking report brings together interesting data from various areas to show that workplace democracy is linked with increased participation in democractic life, more equal societies, higher wages and better work-life balance, to name only a few.

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