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European-level Representation

European level representatives are chosen through the works council structure. However, for the European Company, there are rules which guarantee seats to trade union officials and – in the largest companies – representatives of senior management, both on the SNB and at board level.

European Works Councils

German members of the special negotiating body (SNB) for the EWC are chosen from the group works council, where such a body exists. If there are only central or ordinary works councils, and they do not cover all the workplaces, then they are extended to cover workplaces not otherwise represented. Employees representing senior management can be members of the SNB if chosen under this procedure. There is also a requirement for the members to reflect the gender make-up of the workforce.

The procedure is the same for German members of an EWC set up under the fallback procedure in the annex to the directive. When there are at least four German members on an EWC set up in this way, the body representing senior management can also send a representative, who has speaking, although not voting, rights.

European Company

German members of the special negotiating body (SNB) for the European Company are chosen by an election body which is the group works council, where such a body exists and only one company is involved. If there is no group works council, but only one German company involved, then the central or individual works councils are extended to cover workplaces not otherwise represented. If several German companies are involved, then the election body is made up of the group works councils of the two companies, or other works councils from the two companies if there are no group works councils. Every third member of the SNB from Germany should be a trade union official and every seventh a representative of senior management. The members should also reflect the gender make-up of the workforce.

The situation is the same for the German members of the SE representative body set up under the fallback procedure, except that there is no provision for trade union officials or representatives of senior management. The legislation states that the representative body should be composed of employees of the European Company.

German representatives at board level are also elected in the same way, although this time the requirement that every third member from Germany should be a trade union official and every seventh a representative of senior management is reinstated.

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.