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European-level Representation

European representatives from France – for both European Works Councils and European Company bodies – are appointed by the unions. The exception is board level representatives in a European Company, where the representative body decides how they should be chosen.

European Works Councils

French members of the special negotiating body (SNB) are appointed by the unions, on the basis of their support in works council elections, either from among the works council members or from among the trade union delegates in the company. If there is no union presence the employees themselves make the choice.

The position is the same for members of an EWC set up under the fall back procedure in the annex to the directive.

One particular power potentially given to EWCs in large French companies is to appoint one of the employee board level representatives (see section on board level representation). According to the 2013 law on employment security, in companies employing 5,000 people in France, or 10,000 worldwide, the shareholders’ meeting can decide that where there are two employee representatives on the board, one of them should be appointed by the EWC.

European Company

Special Negotiating Body members from France are chosen by unions from among the elected works council members or the appointed trade union delegates, on the basis of union results in the most recent elections.

The position is the same for the French members of the SE representative body, as set up under the annex to the directive.

It is the SE representative body which decides how employee representatives at board level in a European Company are to be chosen. But the legislation also states that where an election takes place it should follow the same rules as for the election of national employee board level representatives in state-owned companies – in other words an election by all employees on the basis of nominations made by representative unions or at least 5% of the employees of the company (at least 100 in companies with 2,000 or more employees).


Further information on the national SE legislation can be found here.

L. Fulton (2015) Worker representation in Europe. Labour Research Department and ETUI. Produced with the assistance of the SEEurope Network, online publication available at http://www.worker-participation.eu/National-Industrial-Relations.