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Recast of European Works Council Directive

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.

After an initial lack of compromise among the Social Partners concerning negotiations they managed to break the deadlock and agreed upon Joint Advice (29 August 2008). The Joint Advice facilitated political compromise on the issue and served as an informal indication for the European Parliament in preparing its position. Following a tight coordination between the works of the European Parliament and the Council it was possible to adopt the EP's report on the 16/12/2008 in the first reading. Subsequently, on 23 April 2009 the Council adopted a revised directive on European Works Councils (EWCs).

The most important changes in the recast directive 2009/38/EC relate to:

  • Inclusion of a definition of information
  • Improvement of the definition of consultation
  • Inclusion of a definition of transnationality and clarification of the transnational competence of EWCs
  • Link between various levels of employee information and consultation
  • Employers' obligation to provide EWC members with training
  • Facilities provided to the SNB, such as pre and post meetings, the presence of experts –
    including trade union members- in the negotiation meetings
  • Obligation to inform the European social partners of negotiations (= recognition of the role of the European social partners)
  • Mandate for the employee reps in the EWC to collectively represent the employees and obligation for the management to provide the EWC with means necessary to perform this function

Some changes were made also in regard to the Subsidiary Requirements (concept of consultation, explanation to EWC of grounds for managments decline of EWCs opinion, the composition of EWCs, number of Select Committee members)

Chronology of Recast - Key docs

Chronological overview of (selected) stages of the EWC revision process

Overview on new articles in the directive

The table provides an overview of new articles in Directive 2009/38/EC

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Table: ETUC demands and Commission proposal

Comparative table demands ETUC / proposal Commission

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Conference Paper: 'Are European fundamental rights to information and consultation getting diluted by national implementations? Study on implementation of European Works Councils Directive 2009/38/EC in the field of access to justice'

EWC access to justice
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By Romuald Jagodzinski

The ETUI continues its research on EWCs' access to justice. During the 2014 Industrial Relations in Europe Conference (IREC) conference 'IREC 2014 - The future of the European Social Model – New perspectives for industrial relations, social and employment policy in Europe?' held at the Eurofound in Dublin on 12-14 September 2014 a paper by Romuald Jagodziński discussing implementation of sanctions for violation of EWC laws across Europe was presented.

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New book on European Works Councils: 'Variations on a theme? The implementation of the EWC Recast Directive'

Publication date : 2015

Number of pages : 199

Edited by : Romuald Jagodzinski (ETUI)

Contributions by: Jan Cremers, Filip Dorssemont, Sylvaine Laulom, Pascale Lorber and Romuald Jagodziński

Since 1994, the EU has established mechanisms for information and consultation procedures for workers in transnational companies (European Works Councils Directive 94/45/EC). In 2009, the EWC Directive was reviewed and amended (Recast EWC Directive 2009/38/EC). The year 2016 will see the formal conclusion of a new evaluation procedure designed to ascertain whether the improvements of 2009 have had any impact on teh EWC's conditions of operation and whether any further amendements should be considered.

This book assesses in detail the ways in which key improvements brought about by the 2009 EWC Recast Directive have been implemented in national legislation.

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European Works Councils: a trade union guide to directive 2009/38/EC by Severine Picard

Séverine Picard (ETUC Legal Advisor)

Publication date : 2010

Number of pages : 138

Author(s) :

Séverine Picard (ETUC Legal Advisor)

This guide has been developed by the ETUC in order to help trade unionists and practitioners in the area of information and consultation around Europe to play an active role in this process and to make the most of the new provisions in the European Works Council Directive as amended by Directive 2009/38/EC. It is an article-by-article legal commentary, written in an accessible style so that it can be used by everybody with interest in European Works Councils and their functioning. Part I contains general remarks on objectives and principles. Parts II, III and IV contain an article by article analysis of the provisions of the Directive and their consequences. A summary table of the guide can be found in Part V.

Collection: 114
ETUI, Brussels, ISBN 978-2-87452-180-5 , ISBN 978-2-87452-181-2 (pdf)

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ETUI academic workshop on the EWC Recast Directive

On 25-26th February, 2016 the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) is organising a academic/research workshop on the EWC Recast Directive.

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Expert workshop on the impact of the Recast Directive on European Works Councils

On 25-26 February 2016 the ETUI's unit 'Europeanisation of industrial relations' organised a workshop focused on taking stock of the existing research on the impact of and of relevance for the changes introduced by the

EWC workshop Recast 2016

Recast Directive on European Works Councils.

The workshop was attended by top experts and academics in the field and provided for a much needed overview of EWC research completed and ongoing in the past 5-8 years.

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