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Worker involvement and European company law

Each time proposals for legislation creating company forms at the European level or for regulating cross-border company restructuring are made, the issue of worker involvement is raised. Significantly different provisions for information, consultation and participation rights for employees are contained in the legislation proposed or already passed. The European trade union movement has therefore raised the demand of creating a European minimum standard for worker involvement, which would apply to all European company legal forms and to cross-border restructurings regulated at the European level.

Regarding European company legal forms, legislation is in place for the European Company (SE) and the European Cooperative Society (SCE), and has been proposed for the European Private Company (SPE) and the European Foundation (FE). Directives are also in place regulating cross-border mergers (CBM) and takeover bids (including cross-border bids), and the European Parliament has recommended a directive on the cross-border transfer of the registered seat of companies. Since the process of negotiation of involvement rights in each case has proven to be quite difficult, and the specific rights implemented or proposed very dependent upon the current political constellation, the ETUC has demanded the creation of a European minimum standard for worker involvement. This standard, which would define strong rights for information, consultation and board-level participation, would automatically apply to legislation on new European company legal forms and cross-border restructuring.

An embodiment of these efforts by the ETUC is the recent Resolution 'Towards a new framework for more democracy at work' adopted in October 2014 available at the ETUC website.

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