European Works Councils
The purpose of a European Works Council (EWC) is to bring together employee representatives from the different European countries in which a multinational company has operations. During EWC meetings, these representatives are informed and consulted by central management on transnational issues of concern to the company’s employees. Directive 94/45/EC – governing the establishment of such EWCs – is applicable to transnational undertakings and groups of undertakings employing in total more than 1000 employees in the EEA, and at least 150 of them in two member states. The EWC Directive has evolved to become an important gauge of compliance with the European standards and practices shaping the European Social Model. After 10 years of attempts to amend the EWC directive, on 6 May 2009 a recast EWC directive was adopted (2009/38/EC).
The ETUI's EWC database contains the texts of agreements that have established European Works Councils, as well as agreements negotiated by EWCs on specific topics. It also presents information on multinational companies falling within the scope of the EWC Directive. The database has been widely used as a reference source by assorted EU and national institutions as well as research and academic centres. The database contains 3000 documents and well over 1000 EWC agreements in various language versions. Click here to visit the EWC Database!
After 10 years of attempts to amend the EWC directive (94/45/EC) on 16 May 2009 the European Commission announced a revised recast directive 2009/38/EC. The new directive – adopted in April 2009 – is the outcome of an intense legislative process that took place throughout 2008.
An increasing number of agreements on the setting up of European works councils or SE works councils contain provision for training of representatives to be financed by the firm. In this framework, the ETUI Education Department organises made-to-measure courses in response to requests from European works councils, SE works councils and Special Negotiating Bodies (SNBs).
In 2009, the long awaited (since 1999) Recast Directive on European Works Councils (EWCs) was adopted. Its most important goals were to (1) improve the effectiveness of EWCs and (2) increase the amount of EWCs. In 2016, the implementation of the Recast Directive is to be evaluated by the European Commission that prepares its own report on the topic. This report feeds into the evaluation debate by building on data from analysis of 1200+ EWC agreements stored in the EWC Database managed by the ETUI.more ...
In the run-up to the official Evaluation Report by the European Commission expected in Autumn 2016 the debate on this topic is in full swing. In the last Expert Meeting organised by the European Commission on 23/06/2016 gathering representatives of national authorities (ministries) responsible for the implementation of the EWC Recast Directive as well as representatives of trade unions (political: ETUC, ETUFs and national unions; research: ETUI) and employers (BusinessEurope) final outcomes of a study completed by consultancy ICFI for the European Commission were presented.
The ETUI has been contributing to the debate with several publications providing robust facts and figures from various angles. We gather them for you in this 'EWC Recast Evaluation Infopack'.more ...
an EWC: 980
EWC negotiations ongoing: 57
Active EWC Bodies: 1061
(Data as of 06/10/2014)
For more information and up-to-date figures visit:
ETUI Policy Brief: