EU Framework for Information, Consultation and Participation rights
The existing Community rights of employees to be informed and consulted and to be represented on the company’s supervisory or administrative board (participation) is still fragmented. In total, more than 15 EU Directives deal with information and consultation in some kind of a general or specific sense. The existing directives are a clear expression of the willingness at European level to make employees citizens at their workplace. This is also mirrored in the EU Charter of fundamental rights (referred to in the Lisbon Treaty) which gives information and consultation rights the status of a basic right of European citizens.
The rights pertaining to information and consultation of the workforce under Community law are currently some of the most fragmented in the EU legislative body. In total, more than 15 directives deal with information and consultation in some kind of a general or specific sense. Currently four major European directives form part of the social acquis in this regard: the directive on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work (89/391/EC), the directive on European works councils (2009/38/EC); the directive on employee involvement in the European Company (2001/86/EC), and the European framework directive on information and consultation (2002/14/EC). Besides this general frame, a range of directives secure the right of information and consultation of workers in specific situations, such as in case of collective redundancies (98/59/EC) , transfer of undertaking (2001/23/EC).
The right of employees or their representatives to elect or appoint some members of a company's supervisory or administrative organ, or the right to recommend and/or oppose the appointment of some or all of the members of these boards represents the third element of the `European trias of worker involvement rights`: information, consultation and (board-level) participation.
The type of labour needed by European companies – skilled, mobile, committed, responsible, and capable of using technical innovations and of identifying with the objective of increasing competitiveness and quality – cannot be expected simply to obey the employers' instructions. Workers must be closely and permanently involved in decision-making at all levels of the company.
Final report of the `High-level expert group on workers’ involvement` (Davignon group), 1997