Home / About WP / Why Worker Participation? / European Labour Authority

European Labour Authority

The proposal to establish an ELA that has so far fallen under the radar is potentially one of the most pragmatic and promising of the Juncker pledges.

In Europe where 16 million Europeans live and work in another member state, where 1.7m Europeans commute to another member state and many millions more work for international companies in the pan-European market, this seems not only a welcome but also a necessary development. “[A] common Labour Authority for ensuring fairness in [the] single market” is hence not only a great idea but also a long-term practical necessity.

For now, the suggested mandate for the Authority is “to strengthen cooperation between labour market authorities at all levels and better manage cross-border situations, as well as further initiatives in support of fair mobility (…)“. While mobility alone is undoubtedly reason enough to go ahead with this initiative, we would like to suggest a potential extension to any such future institution. The reference to strengthening cooperation between labour market authorities at all levels and better management of cross-border working issues creates space to discuss expanding the remit of this Authority. It could cover a range of further issues which promote transnational workers’ participation in functioning and corporate decision-making of multinational companies that have workforce in more than one European country.

Indeed, such a European Labour Authority could offer a solution to seemingly intractable problems faced on a daily basis by those representing the interests of the cross-border workforce. At the same time, it should also be charged with working towards closing the representation gap. In line with this the ELA could handle challenges linked to the
application of EU laws in practice experienced by workers (and their representatives) working in pan-European companies.

The working conditions of European employees are impacted not only by local regulations, but also by corporate decisions taken under the jurisdiction of another member state – decisions which may well have a transnational impact. Moreover, because of this transnational dimension, workers employed in one country have no safeguards or measures of protection against corporate decisions made in another country, as they are taken and implemented outside the competence of national courts. As argued recently by Sara Lafuente-Hernandez, an ETUI researcher, some EU work towards

All Why Worker Participation?