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European-level Representation

All Portuguese members of bodies concerned with European Works Councils or European Companies are chosen in the same way – appointed by agreement with the works council and the unions, or by the unions if there is no works council, and they represent sufficient employees.

European Works Councils

Portuguese members of the special negotiating body of an EWC are appointed by agreement between the works council and the unions, provided the unions represent at least 5% of the employees. If there are no unions, the works council chooses the Portuguese members. The unions can choose the members, provided that in total they represent at least two-thirds of the employees, or, where this cannot be shown, provided that each union involved represents at least 5% of the employees involved. Unions representing less than 5% of the employees can together choose one of their number to participate in choosing the Portuguese members of the SNB. If there is no agreement, or the unions do not represent 5% of the employees, or if a third of the employees require it, the members of the SNB are elected by the employees as a whole. Candidates must be nominated by at least 100 employees or 10% of the workforce. The law does not state whether Portuguese members of the SNB have to be employees.

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

European Company

Portuguese members of the special negotiating body of a European Company are appointed by agreement between the works council and the unions, provided the unions represent at least 5% of the employees. If there are no unions, the works council chooses the Portuguese members. The unions can choose the members, provided that in total they represent at least two-thirds of the employees, or, where this cannot be shown, provided that each union involved represents at least 5% of the employees involved. Unions representing less than 5% of the employees can together choose one of their number to participate in choosing the Portuguese members of the SNB. If there is no agreement, or the unions do not represent 5% of the employees, or if a third of the employees require it, the members of the SNB are elected by the employees as a whole. Candidates must be nominated by at least 100 employees or 10% of the workforce. The law specifically states that a union representative who is not an employee can be one of the Portuguese members of the SNB.

The procedure is the same for Portuguese members of the SE representative body, set up under the fallback arrangements in the annex to the directive, although here there is no provision for non-employees to be members.

The same rules apply to employee representatives from Portugal taking seats on the board of a company under the fallback provisions in the annex.

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

L. Fulton (2013) 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.