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News Bulletin – worker-participation.eu

October 2013


Highlights


Editorial

Using the crisis to change the rules


Worker Participation – Transversal issues

- Fitness Check: Commission evaluation of three Directives on information and consultation completed

- REFIT Programme launched: Another deregulatory milestone?

- European Parliament adopts report on financial participation of employees

- Welcome, Croatia!


European Works Councils (EWC) / Transnational Company Agreements

- More than 1,000 active EWCs and counting – News from the EWC Database

- Upgrade of EWC Database in 2014 – please provide feedback

- Forthcoming ETUI study on EWCs access to justice

- EWCs negotiating below the radar?

- EWCs’ continued involvement in transnational company-level agreements

- European Parliament asks for legal framework on transnational company agreements


European Company (Societas Europaea, SE)

- News on European Companies – A further 100 SEs set-up since July

- (Non-) Notification of SE registrations in EU Official Journal


European company law and corporate governance

- Cross-border transfers of registered offices of companies: results of consultation

- Implementation Study on Cross-Border Mergers released

- Consultation on Single-member limited liability companies closed

- Future of European Private Company (SPE)?


European Social Dialogue

- ETUC, Businesseurope, UEAPME and CEEP confirmed as representative European social partners

- Is the EMU finally getting its social dimension, including social dialogue?

- European social partners joint statement on involvement of the social partners in European Economic Governance


Publications


Reports from conferences and workshops


Events


Editorial

Using the crisis to change the rules

The last few years have seen union rights being reduced in many of the countries most affected by the economic crisis. National legislation in these countries has accelerated the trend to company level bargaining and the influence of collective bargaining has been reduced. At the same time changes in the rules have reduced the ability of unions to represent employees. Although there are some more positive signs, in many countries the position has worsened. This has become very clear in the process of updating the National Industrial Relations pages of the worker-participation.eu website, a task that was completed earlier this year with the support of the SEEurope Network and is now available online in French and German, as well as English. More...

By Lionel Fulton, Labour Research Department (London)


Worker Participation – Transversal issues


Fitness Check: Commission evaluation of three Directives on information and consultation completed

In July 2013, the European Commission released the results of the Fitness Check pilot project launched in 2010 to evaluate the effectiveness of three information and consultation Directives: the 1998 collective redundancies Directive, the 2001 transfer of undertakings Directive, and the 2002 Framework Directive on information and consultation of workers. Overall, the Commission’s assessment is positive; however, some deficiencies have also been identified. More...


REFIT Programme launched: Another deregulatory milestone?

In October 2013, the Commission issued a Communication on Regulatory Fitness and Performance, also known as REFIT. With a view to identifying burdens, gaps, and inefficient or ineffective measures, the REFIT programme aims to systematically map and screen the entire body of EU legislation, including both legislation in force as well as legislation which is in the pipeline. In this Communication, the Commission lays out where it sees its successes so far in simplifying EU legislation. Against this background, the Communication goes on to identify specific legislative proposals or provisions that it intends to repeal, withdraw, postpone, evaluate, or newly propose. Amongst the very wide range of legislative areas addressed are EU legislation on information and consultation, as well as company law, health and safety and working time. More...


European Parliament adopts report on financial participation of employees

The European Parliament adopted, on 29 August, a draft report on financial participation of employees (EFP) in companies’ proceeds. In this report, the Parliament calls on the EU member states to consider appropriate national measures to encourage companies to develop and implement voluntary EFP schemes. It further proposes that the Commission present an impact assessment and a study on the establishment of a (parallel) European regime on EFP which would provide employers with an optional single legal regulation available for implementation throughout the EU.


Welcome, Croatia!

Croatia joined the European Union on 1 July, becoming its 28th member state. Croatia is a country with a well-developed national system of industrial relations and where union density – with more than a third of employees belonging to unions – is well above the EU average. Collective bargaining takes place at industry and company level, while workplace representation is provided by both trade unions and works councils. There is some provision, in addition, for the board-level representation of employees. More information can be found on the new country page available on worker-participation.eu (in EN, DE and FR). Read more ...


European Parliament asks for legal framework on transnational company agreements

On 12 September, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on cross-border collective bargaining and transnational social dialogue (2012/2292(INI)). In this resolution the Parliament proposes to the Commission that it give consideration to the need for an optional European legal framework for European transnational company agreements (TCA). The resolution highlights the fact that EWCs ‘should be fully involved in the negotiations with European trade union federations where applicable, notably since they are able to detect the need/opportunity for a TCA.’ Read more ...


European Works Councils (EWC) / Transnational Company Agreements


More than 1,000 active EWCs and counting – News from the EWC Database

The ETUI’s database of EWCs currently records 1,039 active EWCs in 962 multinational companies. The highest number of EWCs has been established based on the German (351), French (260), British (186) and Belgian (179) law. Since the entry into force of the recast EWC Directive 2009/38/EC, the pace of establishment of new EWCs seems to be increasing steadily: at least 58 negotiations are known to be currently underway, and the sectoral European trade union federations report that more initiatives to open negotiations are in the pipeline. Further statistical information can be found on the EWCD.eu-Website with ready-to-download charts.


Upgrade of EWC Database in 2014 – please provide feedback

The ETUI information service on EWCs www.ewcdb.eu has been online since 2007. After six years of operation, we are preparing for an upgrade in 2014. Therefore we are currently collecting input and feedback about the website in order to improve it and adjust it to the users’ current needs. We seek users’ remarks, proposals, and suggestions concerning the website’s contents, interface, and possible new functionalities, etc. We warmly invite you to participate in the survey on www.ewcdb.eu and/or to send feedback directly to Romuald Jagodzinski at rjagodzinski@etui.org. With your help we will be able to map users’ needs more efficiently and address those feasible within our resources. Thank you for supporting us in improving our service for you!


Forthcoming ETUI study on EWCs access to justice

The ETUI is preparing an analysis of the enforcement of EWCs’ rights within all national legal frameworks. The study aims to map national regulations on EWCs' access to courts and the enforcement of EWC rights to information and consultation; it also seeks to clarify whether EWCs have the necessary legal rights and capacities to seek conflict resolution in courts of law in all member states. Read more ...


EWCs negotiating below the radar?

Recently published exploratory research conducted in the metalworking sector has revealed that over the past five years, a striking new negotiating phenomenon has emerged: In addition to negotiating formal framework agreements, EWCs and central management have increasingly developed informal arrangements in order to regulate a wide range of issues, such as transnational restructuring, remuneration, health and safety policies, and shaping industrial relations arrangements within the company. These developments can pose real challenges to collective bargaining and workers’ participation at the local level. Read more...


EWCs’ continued involvement in transnational company-level agreements

As in previous years, more and more EWCs have been actively negotiating arrangements and agreements with company management. The worker-participation.eu News Bulletin continues to monitor and report on these developments. 2013 has seen the conclusion of a few particularly innovative agreements designed to capture the complexities of articulating processes of information, consultation and negotiation across different levels—from the local to the European and global levels. We report here on recent agreements signed at Air France/KLM, Enel, Lafarge, Groupama and Deutsche Bahn. Read more ...


European Parliament asks for legal framework on transnational company agreements

On 12 September, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on cross-border collective bargaining and transnational social dialogue (2012/2292(INI)). The Parliament therein proposes to the Commission to consider whether an optional European legal framework for European transnational company agreements (TCA) might be necessary. The resolution highlights that EWCs ‘should be fully involved in the negotiations with European trade union federations where applicable, notably since they are able to detect the need/opportunity for a TCA’. Read more ...


European Company (Societas Europaea, SE)


News on European Companies – A further 100 SEs set-up since July

The October 2013 edition of the ETUI’s SE News provides the latest data available from the European Company (SE) Database. As of 1 October, a total of 1,966 SEs were registered in 25 countries of the European Economic Area (EEA), an increase of 105 SEs in the past three months. During this period, at least six ‘normal’ companies (with employees and business activities) – four in Germany and two in France – have finished their conversion process and negotiations on employee involvement, among them the well-known rental car company Sixt. Read more...


(Non-) Notification of SE registrations in EU Official Journal

After collecting data on more than 2,000 SEs, registered between 2004 and 12 September 2013, we can now present reliable statistics on how many companies have not published the mandatory notice in the Supplement to the Official Journal of the European Union. According to our findings, 43 per cent of all registered SEs have not published a notice of registration. The data reveal that the notification procedure contained in the SE legislation has not passed the test of practice. Read more...


European company law and corporate governance


Cross-border transfers of registered offices of companies: results of consultation

In September the European Commission published a Feedback Statement on the results of a public consultation it organized on the issue of cross-border transfers of registered offices of companies. On the issue of what provisions should be made for employee participation in the case of a transfer, 40% of the respondents favoured a solution based on the SE legislation, 20% the Cross Border Mergers Directive (CBMD), and 40% were for another solution. Read more...


Implementation study on cross-border mergers released

The European Commission has just released an external study on the implementation of the Cross-Border Mergers Directive (CBMD) in the EU and EEA Member States. While the study claims that the CBM Directive is a success overall, nevertheless further policy actions are needed. With regard to employee participation, the study identifies a number of problems and outlines some options to deal with these. Read more...


Consultation on single-member limited liability companies closed

The European Commission public consultation on single-member limited liability companies closed on 15 September 2013. It took place in the context of the 2012 EU Company Law Action Plan as well as the repeated attempts by the European Commission to create a European legal form for SMEs and to deregulate the small company sector. Read more...


Future of European Private Company (SPE)?

In the REFIT-Communication (page 18), the European Commission includes its proposal on the statute of a European Private Company in the list of proposals it intends to withdraw. The Commission thereby draws the lessons from the several year long unsuccessful discussions between member states around this potential new European company form. Read more...


European Social Dialogue


ETUC, Businesseurope, UEAPME and CEEP confirmed as representative European social partners

Since 2007, Eurofound has been carrying out for the European Commission a set of so-called representativeness studies with a particular focus on the European sectoral social partners. A recent study now serves to confirm also – if such confirmation were necessary – the representativeness of the European cross-industry social partners ETUC (and its Liaison Committee Eurocadres/CEC), Businesseurope, UEAPME and CEEP. Read more...


Is the EMU finally getting its social dimension, including social dialogue?

On 2 October the European Commission published its Communication on ‘Strengthening the Social Dimension of the Economic and Monetary Union’ (EMU). The Commission acknowledges that ‘there is room to better consult social partners at key steps of the decision-making process under the European Semester’. In a press release, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) ‘welcomes the introduction of key social indicators in the semester but deplores the powerlessness of these indicators to change economic governance rules.’ Read more...


European social partners joint statement on involvement of the social partners in European Economic Governance

Of relevance to the previous item and as already mentioned in the previous News bulletin, the European social partners had decided to give thought to the consequences of the new European economic governance for social dialogue on the EU and national levels. After several meetings, the ETUC, Businesseurope, UEAPME and CEEP succeeded in reaching agreement on a draft joint statement. Read more...


Publications


Stefan Clauwaert (2013) The country-specific recommendations (CSRs) in the social field (ETUI Background analysis)

As part of the European Semester, the main pillar of Europe's new economic governance, the Commission puts forward every year the 'country-specific recommendations' (CSRs). This background analysis provides an overview of specific recommendations to the EU member states in the field of employment and social policies. Read more...


Stefan Clauwaert (2013) The country-specific recommendations (CSRs) in the field of health and safety at work and labour inspection services (ETUI Background analysis)

This background analysis provides an overview of CSRs and identifies how those adopted in 2011, 2012 and 2013 impact directly or indirectly on measures and/or policies in the field of health and safety at work and labour inspection services. Read more...


Lionel Fulton (2013) Worker representation in Europe. 2013 Update (online publication prepared for worker-participation.eu)

Lionel Fulton has updated for our website the country reports on worker representation in Europe. The reports provide key information on trade unions, collective bargaining, workplace representation, board-level representation and European structures of interest representation. The update is now available in EN, DE and FR. The reports have been produced with the assistance of the SEEurope Network. Read more...


Lionel Fulton (2013) Health and Safety Representation in Europe (online publication prepared for worker-participation.eu)

In all EU states there exist structures providing for employee representation in the field of health and safety. There are, however, differences in the way that this representation is organised. The country reports complement the national industrial relations section on worker-participation.eu with regard to health and safety representation in the EU member states and Norway. The reports are available in EN, FR and DE. Read more...


Norbert Kluge, Michael Stollt and Aline Conchon (2013) Map and comparative table: Worker board-level participation in the 31 European Economic Area countries (July 2013 update, online)

In 19 of the 31 member states of the European Economic Area, there exists legislative provision for employee board-level representation. The updated map and comparative table – available in EN, DE and FR – provide an overview of key aspects of the national legislation on board-level representation of employees. Read more...


Carole Lang, Stefan Clauwaert and Isabelle Schömann (2013) Working time reforms in times of crisis (ETUI Working Paper)

This working paper extends and complements the analysis of pre-2012 anticrisis measures published in the earlier ETUI Working Paper 'The crisis and national labour law reforms: a mapping exercise' which dealt with anti-crisis measures on working time taken before February 2012. Read more...


Carole Lang, Isabelle Schömann and Stefan Clauwaert (2013) Atypical forms of employment contracts in times of crisis (ETUI Working Paper)

This working paper builds on previous research undertaken by the ETUI on the impact of the economic and financial crisis on labour law reforms in EU member states. It maps the landscape and evolutions in the regulation of atypical employment contracts, analysing how some of these evolutions can be related to the context of the economic and financial crisis. Read more...


Torsten Müller, Hans-Wolfgang Platzer and Stefan Rüb (2013) Transnational company agreements and the role of European Works Councils in negotiations (ETUI report)

As a rule, the competences of European Works Councils (EWCs) are limited to information and consultation. Nonetheless, the number of European company-level framework agreements negotiated by EWCs and/or trade unions has increased steadily since the early 2000s. By the end of 2011, 119 such agreements had been concluded. Read more...


Torsten Müller and Irmgard Pas (2013) Wage development infographic (ETUI, online)

A new visual map or infographic comparing wage developments between the year 2000 and 2012 for the EU’s 28 member states provides proof of the impact of austerity and internal devaluation policies on wages in Europe. Read more...


Michael Stollt et Elwin Wolters (2013) Implication des travailleurs dans la Société européenne (SE) - Guide pour les acteurs de terrain

Ce guide vise à garantir que les opportunités offertes par la législation sur la SE soient exploitées. Il a d’abord et avant tout été conçu pour aider les acteurs de terrain à préparer et à conduire les négociations portant sur les accords relatifs à l’implication des travailleurs dans les SE. Read more...


Collective bargaining newsletter database (AIAS and ETUI, online)

The archives of the monthly Collective Bargaining Newsletter – compiled by a research team from AIAS in cooperation with the ETUI – are now available. This archive functions as a database containing all Collective Bargaining Newsletters published since February 2008. Read more...


Reports from conferences and workshops Brussels


Launch of the Association Bruno Trentin-ISF-IRES, 26 September, Brussels

The Association Bruno Trentin-ISF-IRES was officially founded in Rome on 3 June 2013, merging the three existing structures. The newly created entity is endorsed by the Italian General Confederation of Labour (CGIL) and constitutes a single Centre for trade union research and training following the example of other significant trade union structures in Europe. The new Association will carry out activities on topics related to the trade unions and their social, economic and institutional environment with a particular focus on labour-related issues. Read more...


Power and politics in multinational corporations: the role of worker involvement, 18 September, Brussels

This meeting of the ETUI Monthly Forum focused on lines of conflict and political manoeuvring by management and employee representation bodies with regard to highly contested issues in MNCs, such as subsidiary entrepreneurship, intra-firm competition and, most notably, the cross border transfer of HRM/IR policies. Read more...


Comparing notes and generating ideas: SEEurope meets GoodCorp, 16-17 September, Brussels

In order to generate knowledge and monitor developments at the national level from a European perspective, the European Workers’ Participation Competence Centre (EWPCC) in the ETUI runs several specialised research networks. Two networks which are closely linked to one another are SEEurope and GoodCorp: SEEurope is the research network focusing on the SE and related issues, and GoodCorp is the ETUI’s research network on corporate governance. Read more...


SCEN4WORKgroup: Scenario (Net)Workshop, 27-29 June, Asperen

From 27-29 June, the members of the SCEN4WORKgroup met in the Netherlands. This network brings together facilitators for scenario trainings in the context of worker participation. In addition to planning of the network members’ forthcoming activities, participants were presented with a scenario toolkit containing different exercises and approaches designed to foster long-term and systems thinking.


Events


ETUI Monthly Forum: Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: impacts on labour and working environment

28 Nov 2013, ITUH, Bd du Roi Albert II, 5; 1210 Brussels, room B

The aim of this Monthly Forum is to give the overview of the negotiations between the US and the EU and to present the potential gains and sacrifices that it entails for both economies on employment, workers’ protection and labour standards. It will also explore the divergences of the regulatory activity on both sides of the Atlantic and the tendency to avoid new regulation on both systems. Read more...


EWPCC Seminar for employee representatives on the supervisory boards of German-based SEs

13-15 January, Berlin

The seminar will focus on the rights, roles and scope for action of employee representatives in German-based SEs. The seminar is designed to be attended by small delegations of 3-5 employee representatives from the same company. It is thus also the aim of this seminar to foster cooperation among the all the employee representatives on the supervisory board and to allow participants to focus on their own specific situations and tasks. For more information, please contact Aline Hoffmann at the EWPCC/ETUI.


EWPCC Seminar for EWC and SE-Works Council members

January 2014, Vienna

The EWPCC and the ETUI’s Education Department will be holding a training for EWC and SE-Works Council members in Vienna at the end of January 2014. This is the second in a series of seminars on the basics of EWC activities and is targeted towards EWC and SE-WC members from the UK, Austria, Lithuania, Liechtenstein and Slovenia. Further seminars in the series will be targeted towards other countries. Read more...


European Scenario Workshop ‘Worker Participation 2030’ – Anticipation workshop for EWC and SE-WC Select Committees

6–7 February 2014, Leiden (NL)

It is now several years since the ETUI launched its scenario project "Worker Participation 2030". While the project deals with changing contexts for employee involvement and its actors in the future, the aim is not to predict the future but rather to think through the implications and characteristics of different possible futures. Select Committees of EWC and SE Works Councils which are interested in participating in the workshop can get in touch with the ETUI by 15 November 2013 at the latest. More information can be found in the workshop flyer and on the WP2030 website. Read more...


2014 Conference of the European Workers' Participation Competence Centre (EWPCC)

18-19 February 2014, Brussels

The 2014 EWPCC Conference will showcase the results of the Voice of Labour project funded by the Hans-Böckler-Stiftung. This first ever large-scale survey of board-level representatives in Europe provides new insights into the actual practice of board-level employee representation in 17 European countries. Read more...

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