Home / About WP / What's new?


"EWCs fit for change" - a new publication by the Austrian GPA union

EWC Fit for Change

The EU-funded project “EWC Fit for Change”, led by the Austrian trade union GPA, drew upon the expertise of an international network of EWC experts and trainers (including from the ETUI)  in order to develop materials to support  European Works Councils in managing restructuring in corporate groups. The materials were developed and tested in three seminars with EWC members from several European countries and different sectors.

These materials include a manual on transnational restructuring, in which the legal, political, strategic contexts are explained in order to better understand the dynamics of company restructuring and the opportunities available to EWCs to exert influence or get robust information.  A number of very useful practical checklists are also included. There is also a guide to establishing an EWC and a set of advanced training modules for EWCs.

The website of the project is available here in German and English and materials produced as a result of the project , available in German, English, French and Slovak can be downloaded here.

The European Federation of Food Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions (EFFAT) brings Lactalis to court

In a statement issued on 8 February, the European Federation of Food Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions (EFFAT) said it will take legal action against Lactalis. Along with nine affiliated unions in France, Spain, Italy and Belgium, EFFAT is demanding that the French diary giant set up a European works council. In the statement, the union federation highlights that on “several occasions EFFAT has supported its affiliates demanding the establishment of an EWC in the Lactalis Group, a demand that the world leader of the dairy industry has always rejected”. “Information and consultation rights are key elements of the EU social acquis and cannot be neglected by transnational companies. We want Lactalis to stick to its obligations and be transparent with its employees,” the federation adds. The first court hearing of the legal proceeding will take place in Laval, Brittany, on 26 March 2018.

(source: PlanetLabor, 09/02/2018)

'Preparing For A Democratic Spring At Work?' blogpost by Sara Lafuente and Stan De Spiegelaere

On the 1st of February, 2018 Sara Lafuente Hernández and Stan De Spiegelaere (researchers at the ETUI) published a very interesting piece on industrial democracy and workers' participation. The article was published in the online Social Europe journal.

Enjoy the reading.

The Grigor Gradev Scholarship: Call for Applications - 2018

31 October 2017: In memory of Grigor Gradev and to continue his work, the ETUC and the ITUC have set up a scholarship to promote the thinking behind promoting workers’ rights and dignity in a Europe in circumstances of deep transformation and dire economic conditions. Grigor Gradev invested a lot in building the capacities of European unions, particularly in those countries that transitioned from a planned to a market economy; in promoting workers’ interests in challenging reform processes; and in encouraging and helping unions from different parts of Europe to cooperate and work together. Grigor Gradev did this by engaging in the political work, but also by contributing substantially to the intellectual thinking behind that work.

more ...

Belgian political parties favour co-determination of employees in company boards

board meeting

board meeting

Mid-November 2017, the Flemish Green party of Belgium (Groen) approved a text calling for, among other things, employee representatives in company boards. The approval is mostly symbolic as the Green party has no detailed plan of how this form of co-determination should be organized. The congress text mentions the need for employee representatives to sit in company boards in order to foster the democracy and participation in organizations and as a means to support constructive relations between employers and employees on strategic company issues.

more ...

ECJ upholds German codetermination rights, but misses an opportunity


European Court of Justice

On 18 July, the CJEU quietly settled the ongoing legal struggle about codetermination rights in transnational companies in Case C-566/15 Erzberger vs TUI AG. In this preliminary ruling, German codetermination law has been declared to be in compliance with EU law. This judgement will satisfy those advocates of the argument that representation rights on German supervisory boards can be limited to workers within the German territory.

more ...

Board-level employee representation: state of play in 2017

Board-level employee representation: state of play in 2017

The ETUI has recently published (January 2017) an updated map of board-level regulations in the EEA countries. The original map by N. Kluge, M. Stollt and A. Conchon (2013) was updated by the ETUI expert in the field, Sara Lafuente Hernandez.

In 19 of the 31 members states of the European Economic Area countries there exists some legislation on employee board-level representation. Even in countries that have no legal regulations, such as Italy and Belgium, instances may be found (albeit exceptional) of workers’ representatives sitting on the company’s board as the result of a collective agreement.

The situation in 2017 slightly changed from that of 2015, since board-level employee representation rules were reintroduced in the Czech Republic for the private sector in January 2017. Thus, this country is now back to the group of countries where regulations have a wider scope, covering both state-owned companies and the private sector. The updated situation is presented on the below map.

Depending on the company structure in the respective member state, the workers’ representatives may either sit on the board of directors (in a monistic system with only an administrative board) or on the supervisory board (in a dualistic system with a management board and a supervisory board). In every country a specific system has evolved and (board-level) representation is always embedded in the wider context of the national industrial relations system. Consequently, the situation differs significantly among the member states.

'German codetermination compatible with EU law, states Advocate General while calling for more inclusiveness'

EU justice

A national codetermination law does not breach EU laws on equal treatment or freedom of movement if it excludes workers in foreign subsidiaries from election rights to their parent company board.

This is the Advocate General (AG)’s long-awaited opinion in case C-566/15 Erzberger (TUI), issued on 4 May. His recommendation to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) is based on the “current state of EU law” and ultimately on sufficient justification on grounds of the general interest.

more ...

The ETUC position paper - For a modern European Works Council (EWC) Directive in the Digital Era

ETUC Executive Committee Malta 2017

In the run up to the long announced and posponed announecement of the European Commission's report on the implementation of the EWC Recast directive the European Trade Union Confederation during its Executive Committee's meeting in Malta on 15-16 March, 2017.

In 10 points the ETUC regroups its demands concerning amendments that the current legal framework requires.

The ETUC's demands can be viewed below or the document downloaded from the ETUC homepage.

more ...

SE Companies: Facts and Figures 2017 available now

Anders Carlson, the chief tracker of the Workers' Participation Europe Network (formerly known as SEEurope Network) monitoring the developments in the area of SE companies across Europe has just published updated facts and figures on the topic.

They can be downloaded in form of a pdf presentation.

When using the data please refer to it as A. Carslon (2017) SE Companies in 2017. Workers' Participation Europe Network, ETUI.

SEEurope network evolves into Workers' Participation Europe network

In its last session in London, UK on the 30-31st of March, 2017 the SEEurope expert network decided to change its name to Workers' Participation Europe network.

This change in name reflects the thematic evolution of tasks and research interest of the network.

more ...

Workers' representation in ETUI's annual Benchmarking Working Europe

Publication date : 2017

Number of pages : 75

Chapitre+4.pdf 4.49 MB

This 2017 edition of Benchmarking working Europe focuses on the question 'overcoming cleavages across the EU?'. It analyses in four chapters and with the help of 58 visual graphs latest trends and outcomes of European policies in the areas of macro-economics, wages and collective bargaining, labour markets and, last but not least, social dialogue and workers' participation.

The Benchmarking working Europe 2017 demonstrates that the European Union is experiencing increasing social divergences and underlines the need for new policies that can generate higher living standards for all, based on fair integration and upwards convergence.

more ...

Company restructuring across borders: with or without European Works Councils?

European Works Councils, policy brief

This policy brief takes as its starting point the fact that as soon as a company engages in European-level transnational restructuring, transnational information and consultation is needed to enable the social partners to consider the cross-border dynamic of the planned measures.

more ...

National codetermination rules under European Scrutiny

On 24 January 2017, the European Court of Justice heard what could turn out to be a landmark case (C-566/15 Erzberger) conce

european court of justice

rning workers’ board-level participation.

Mr Erzberger, a minority shareholder of TUI AG – a multinational travel and tourism company headquartered in Hannover, Germany -- had brought a case before a Berlin court challenging the composition of the company’s Supervisory Board. According to German rules, the employees working for the group but outside German territory are not counted and therefore excluded from the election of board-level employee representatives since they have neither active nor passive election rights. The applicant argues that such geographical rules restrict the right to free movement of workers and also constitute discrimination on the basis of nationality, both of which would be contrary to EU law.

more ...

Final report of the ITEM project published

On the 24/11/2016 in Milan a final conference of the ITEM project focusing on 'Fostering employee involvement at undertaking level by training the main players dealing with the European multinationals' took place.

During the conference the main report including conclusions of the project was presented (attached in IT, followed by EN).

more ...

20 years of EWC legislation in Europe

On the occassion of the 20th anniversary of entry into force of the EU legislation on European Works Councils the ETUI (Romuald Jagodziński) published two articles on this topic. Both give an overview of the developments, main current characterstics, challenges and a future outlook.

more ...

Overview of workplace representation across the EU

A European overview of various channels (works council, trade union) of employee workplace represenation, including minimum thresholds required to activate the workers' rights to representation.

more ...

New book: 'Takeovers with or without worker voice: workers’ rights under the EU Takeover Bids Directive'

In its Workers’ rights in company law series the ETUI has just published (October 2016) a new book on takeovers and workers' rights, edited by Jan Cremers (University of Amsterdam) and Sigurt Vitols (ETUI).

Workers' rights in takeover bid directive

This book presents the results of a study of workers’ rights during company takeover situations in Europe. Takeovers are extremely important for workers because a change in ownership frequently leads to restructuring in the firm, including replacement of management, changed working conditions, increased work intensity and/or mass redundancies. It is therefore crucial that workers have strong rights to receive timely and full information about the planned takeover and to intervene at an early stage of the takeover process to protect their interests. The major conclusion of the book is that the EU Takeover Bids Directive needs to be revised, as it does not provide an adequate level of workers’ rights in its current form.

The study was carried out by the ETUI’s GOODCORP network of academic and trade union experts on corporate governance and company law. The book includes case studies of takeovers as well as analyses of national legal frameworks regulating takeovers and of transversal issues related to takeovers. The book is the first in a new ETUI book series on workers’ rights in company law.

The full version of the book is available for free download.

Individual chapters can be downloaded freely from the ETUI website.

ETUI, Brussels,

ISBN 978-2-87452-420-2,

ISBN 978-2-87452-421-9 (pdf)

Strikes in Europe: a visual strike map


Recently the ETUI's senior researcher Kurt Vandaele published updated information on strikes in Europe.


Strike activity in Europe

This visual strike map shows for most European countries, since the year 2000:

    • the development of 'days-not-worked' due to industrial action per 1,000 employees

and the participation in industrial action per 1,000 employees.


Move forward in the interactive map by clicking on the forward or backward arrows or on individual countries to see detailed information per member state.

The interactive map is available in several formats:

Further questions and explanations to the data and strike activity can be found here.

'EWC and SE works councils 2016. Facts and figures' now available also in German, French, Italian and Polish

EWC Facts and Figures 2015 cover

The ETUI's recent publication 'EWC and SE works councils in 2015. Facts and figures' (which is part of the 'EWC Recast evaluation infopack') has just been translated into German, French Italian and Polish.

All versions are now available digitally for a free download:

Alternatively they can be also downloaded from the ETUI website.

EFFAT's new brochure 'Practical guidelines for EWC Coordinators and trade union officers'

EFFAT – the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions – has recently published a practical guide for EWC coordinators and trade union officers.

The guide is addressed to practitioners and offers a useful overview of topical EWC issues, ranging from the assessment of the EWC Recast Directive to transnational company agreements, psychosocial risks, handling information, precarious work, gender equality, social audits and more. The guide will soon be available in other languages.

An essential must-read for EWC experts.

Should you like to make full use of the hyperlinks in the handbook, please write to the EFFAT Secretariat at the following address: v.infantino@effat.org

For further information on the guide please contact e.somaglia@effat.org and follow EFFAT on Twitter at @EFFAT_Press

Downloaad the Effat EWC brochure 2016

EWC Recast Evaluation Infopack: publications by the ETUI

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 ...

Evaluating the EWC Recast Directive: "Too little, too late" ETUI Report by S. De Spiegelaere

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 ...

Managers, BusinessEurope and the development of European Works Councils by J. Waddington, V. Pulignano and J. Turk

Managers' views book poster

Copyright @ R.Jagodzinski 2016

The ETUI has just published a new Working Paper by Jeremy Waddington (ETUI and University of Manchester), Valeria Pulignano and Jeffrey Turk (University of Leuven), Thomas Swerts (University of Antwerp) on a very topical question of assessing the operation of European Works Councils.

The Working Papper's relevance is (at least) twofold:

1) it presents and explains management's views on the effectiveness, usefulness, roles and operation of European Works Councils (research on management's perspective on EWCs is scarce and rare);

2) it represents a timely contribution to the ongoing debate on EWCs preceeding the European Commission's evaluation report on the implementation of the directive (and its possible review/recast/revision) expected in autumn 2016;

The publication can be downloaded freely from:


more ...

Updated map of Board-level Employee Representation in Europe (BLER)

The ETUI has updated its map on board-level employee representation in Europe, which now provides the latest state of affairs in Europe and thresholds (in private-owned companies) entitling the workers to this form of representation of their intersts.

Interestingly, where workers have rights to elect their representatives to the board level overlaps with countries classified as having 'wide participation rights' according to the ETUI European Participation Index (2.0).

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.

more ...

EWC Training: 'How to organise your communication networks', by Bruno Demaître (ETUI), Romuald Jagodzinski (ETUI), Sjef Stoop (FNV Formaat)

This second in a series of manuals for European Workers' Representatives explains in an easy-to-read format how European Works Council (EWC) members can organise and manage their communications network. It gives tips and tricks for better information flows and provides examples of best practices in several EWCs. The manual is available in 8 different languages.

Hard copies can be ordered free of charge: Bruno Demaître

The annual 2016 conference of the European Workers' Participation Competence Centre is on

Each year the European Workers' Participation Competence Centre (a transversal platform within the European Trade Union Institute) organises a conference for worker representatives from all over Europe to exchange experiences, knowledge and skills necessary for worker representatives active in transnational settings and roles.

This year's main theme is 'Building Bridges: combining information, consultation and board-level employee representation in European multinationals'. In other words, the conference focuses on the articulation, i.e. linking between various levels of information and consultation.

more ...

'The right and duty of European Works Councils to report back to the workforce: broad uptake, little specificity', by Stan De Spiegelaere & Romuald Jagodzinski (ETUI)

PB reporting back cover

This policy brief examines if and how the reformulated obligation in the Recast European Works Council Directive to report back found its way into EWC agreements by looking at survey data, results of large-scale agreement analysis and by providing examples of clauses in which this obligation is reflected.

more ...

The reNEWed European Works Councils database portal is online

In February 2016, to mark the 10th anniversary of the ETUI online portal on European Works Councils www.ewcdb.eu (available since 2006) received a completely new interface and design. The remake of the website was the ETUI’s response to users’ growing needs and a reflection of a change in access policy: we now offer full free access to all registered and many new features.

Important: old logins and passwords (from before 22/02/2016) will NOT work --> please REGISTER ANEW.

more ...

New website on EWC Training by the ETUI's Education Department

In December 2015 the Education Department of the European Trade Union Institute launches a new online portal devoted to trainign for European Works Council members and SE works council members.

more ...

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.

more ...

Long-term investment and the Sustainable Company: a stakeholder perspective. Vol. III

Publication date: 2015

Number of pages: 237

Edited by: Sigurt Vitols (ETUI)

Sustainable company III cover

The onset of the Great Financial Crisis in 2007/8 has triggered a widespread debate about the causes and the social and environmental consequences of the lack of long-term investment around the world. This volume, the third in the Sustainable Company book series produced by the GOODCORP network of academic and trade union experts on corporate governance, presents a ‘stakeholder’ approach to the problem. The analysis and policy prescriptions presented here go beyond mainstream economic analysis by highlighting the need for major changes in the way resources are saved, distributed and invested in the interests of a sustainable and just economy and society.

more ...

New ETUI book: European Works Councils and SE Works Councils in 2015. Facts and figures

Stan De Spiegelaere (ETUI) and Romuald Jagodzinski (ETUI)

Publication date : 2015

Number of pages : 47

Author(s) : Stan De Spiegelaere (ETUI) and Romuald Jagodzinski (ETUI)

In 2016 it will be 20 years since the first European Works Councils (EWC) directive came into force in the EU. In the same year, the European Commission is planning an evaluation of the EWC recast directive that will undoubtedly lead to debate on the need for further review of European regulation of EWCs. The year 2015 also marks the fifteenth anniversary of adoption of the EU directive on workers’ involvement in the European Company (SE).

more ...

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.

more ...

Two new studies on EWCs from the Eurofund: Linking I&C levels and EWC developments before, during and after the crisis

The Eurofound recently published two topical and important pieces of research that contribute to a better understanding of new (and old) challenges that EWCs face:

Eurofound 2015 EWC report impact of crisis
'Linking information and consultation procedures at local and European level' by Filip Dorssemont and Peter Kerckhofs


'European Works Council developments before, during and after the crisis' by Peter Kerckhofs
more ...

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
Justice icon

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.

more ...

Benchmarking Working Europe 2015

Benchmarking 2015

Published every year, the report analyses the state of working Europe explaining with the aid of statistics and graphs the main trends in terms of Europe’s macro-economic situation, its labour market development, the situation of wages and collective bargaining, and worker participation.

more ...

Policy Brief: 'Working in multinationals and domestic firms compared - myths and realities' by Maarten van Klaveren and Kea Tijdens (AIAS, Amsterdam), Denis Gregory (TURU, Oxford)

Working in MNCs PB

The three authors of this policy brief investigated whether multinational enterprises (MNEs) offer better terms and conditions for employment than domestic (non-MNE) firms. Using data from the WageIndicator web survey (www.wageindicator.org), the researchers compared wages, working conditions and job quality, working hours, training possibilities, and industrial relations at the workplace in MNEs and domestic companies.

more ...

Policy Brief: 'Transnational flexibility and ‘shareholder capitalism’: a case for extending EWC competences to cover flexibility' by Valeria Pulignano

Flexibility within MNCs

Flexibility within multinational companies (MNCs) has become increasingly transnational in character. Strategies of inter-firm benchmarking, outsourcing and cross-national or internal ‘coercive comparison’ are increasingly used by MNCs to enhance local performance by placing plants in competition with each other, forcing subsidiaries to gradually raise their level of flexibility, and eroding employees’ working conditions.

more ...

New book by the ETUI: 'The outsourcing challenge. Organizing workers across fragmented production networks'

Outsourcing book

Production networks in many sectors have become increasingly fragmented. Cutting labour costs by lowering pay, increasing work intensity and/or shifting flexibility costs to workers are just some of the motivations for outsourcing. But it can also be used to circumvent employee representation and collective bargaining systems within companies, and labour market regulations in general. Though such intentions may not drive the bulk of outsourcing decisions, any change in company boundaries is likely to impact employment, working conditions and industrial relations in the value chain.

more ...

Adoption of law to reform industrial relations in France

The landmark adoption of new industrial relations legislation by the French parliament on 23 July 2015 is likely to significantly alter the industrial relations landscape and, in particular, worker representation practices in France. The new law aims to:

1) combine various hitherto separate forms of employee participation and representation bodies;

2) address the problem of excessive formalism in social dialogue;

3) introduce new rights to promote trade union involvement.

more ...

Annual EWPCC Conference, 26 February - 27 February 2015: 'Variations on a Theme: Understanding information, consultation and negotiation at the workplace across Europe'

The 2015 annual Conference of the European Workers' Participation Competence Centre (EWPCC) , 26-27 February 2015 in Brussels.

As part of its series of conferences aimed at better understanding the multi-level dynamics of workers’ participation across national borders, this year’s EWPCC Conference turns its attention to the workplace level. The aim is to better understand the processes of information, consultation and negotiation at the local enterprise level.

The target group are employee representatives as well as trade union and academic experts in this field.Over 180 participants from all over the EU registered.

The conference can be followed on Twitter, hashtag is #EWPCC2015

more ...

The European Commission proposes a new directive on the protection of trade secrets

On 28/11/2014 the European Commission issued a proposal for a 'Directive on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure'. The objective of the initiative is to ensure that the competitiveness of European businesses and research bodies which is based on undisclosed know-how and business information (tradesecrets) is adequately protected.

Since the directive may have influence on worker rights to information and consultation in cases of merger of companies it is on the radar of trade unions.

Policy Brief: 'Letter-box companies and abuse of the posting rules: how the primacy of economic freedoms and weak enforcement give rise to social dumping'

Policy Brief by Jan Cremers (University of Amsterdam)

Date of publication: 2014


This policy brief demonstrates how the emphasis on the primacy of economic freedoms has negatively affected the application of EU social security rules and the working conditions of posted workers. It also discusses the legal ambiguities accompanying the notion of 'genuine undertakings' and some recent cases of abuse of the freedom of establishment through the spread of letter-box companies. Finally it formulates policy recommendations for clear, transparent regulation, tighter controls and closer cooperation between national law-enforcing authorities.

more ...

SEEurope goes to Croatia

The SEEurope Network, which focusses on workers’ participation issues, met in Zagreb, Croatia on 27-28 October 2014. The meeting was joined by 10 Croatian guests, including representatives of the two largest trade union confederations and academic experts. In the wake of the Croatian accession to the EU, this meeting enabled an intensive exchange about current and future issues in Croatian and European industrial relations.

more ...

Policy Brief: 'Collective labour law under attack: how anti-crisis measures dismantle workers' collective rights'

Policy Brief by Isabelle Schömann (ETUI)

Date of publication: 2014

This policy brief by Isabelle Schömann (ETUI) demonstrates how the EU's financial and economic crisis has been used to attack European collective labour law. Amendments to the Lisbon Treaty, changes in the EU's economic governance and austerity measures have led to drastic national labour law reforms which undermine fundamental social rights.

more ...

Policy Brief: 'Implementation of enforcement provisions of the European Works Councils Recast Directive: are sanctions really ‘effective, proportionate and dissuasive’?

Policy Brief by Romuald Jagodziński (ETUI)

Date of publication: 2014

This policy brief by the ETUI shows the importance of proper implementation of sanctions for the overall efficiency and implementation of the goals of the EWC Recast Directive. By comparing national sanctions with the criteria of effectiveness, proportionality and dissuasiveness set by the EWC Recast Directive it highlights the excessive discrepancies between national regimes and the EU legislation. On this basis it formulates some concrete policy recommendations for the Commission’s future implementation report on this Directive.

more ...

“Social dialogue as labour market regulator” panel at the ETUI & ETUC Conference 'Europe at a crossroads. Which way to quality jobs and prosperity?'

During the recent conference 'Europe at a crossroads. Which way to quality jobs and prosperity?' by the European Trade Union Institute and the European Trade Union Confederation organised on 24-26 September 2014 panel 3 was devoted to the question of future role(s) social dialogue may/should play as a tool in regulation of labour markets.

more ...

ETUC resolution 'Towards a new framework for more democracy at work'

The Executive Committee of the ETUC in its meeting of 21-22 October 2014 adopted the Resolution 'Towards a new framework for more democracy at work'.

The Resolution advocates a coherent and unambiguous approach to workplace democracy and calls for a Directive introducing a new and integrated architecture for workers’ involvement. Building on the existing EU acquis, the Directive should set high standards on information and consultation, and introduce ambitious minimum standards on workers’ board level representation as an additional source of workers’ influence.

more ...

'Is workers’ participation falling between the cracks of the emerging European company law regime?' at the ETUI & ETUC Conference 'Europe at a crossroads. Which way to quality jobs and prosperity?'

During the recent conference 'Europe at a crossroads. Which way to quality jobs and prosperity?' by the European Trade Union Institute and the European Trade Union Confederation organised on 24-26 September 2014 panel 16 was devoted to the question of worker participation and its position in the emerging European company law regime.

more ...

Field manual - Scenario building

This guide builds on the ETUI's Worker Participation 2030 project which looked at the future of worker participation under four different scenarios. It is a manual for people who want to know more about scenario-building and are considering setting up their own scenario project. It has been designed as a compact and easily accessible overview of the method of scenario building and the different steps entailed in the process.The field manual is currently translated into German and French. more

worker-participation.eu - News Bulletin

Issue 1/2014 – The Newsletter reports on developments at European level in the field of worker participation and related topics. more

News on European Companies: Slowdown or new dynamics?

The April 2014 edition of the SE News provides the latest SE data available from the ETUI's European Company (SE) Database. As of 21 March, a total of 2,125 SEs were registered in 25 countries of the European Economic Area (EEA), an increase of 159 SEs in the past five months. The current dynamics may look contradictory: on one hand, the number of new SE registrations in the Czech Republic – the country with by far the highest number of SEs – slowed down significantly. On the other hand, there have never before been so many firms on our ‘planned SE’ list. Among others, such famous names as Airbus Group N.V. in the Netherlands and in France Christian Dior S.A., Schneider Electric SA and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton S.A. have announced their intention to transform into an SE. more

The Europeanisation of board-level employee representation

What do we know about board-level employee representatives in SEs? The EWPCC has identified at least 156 worker representatives on the supervisory and administrative boards of SEs. Their share ranges from a single member to up to half of the board seats. The most fundamental innovation brought about by the SE legislation was the possibility to internationalise the composition of the employee representation on company boards. In many cases, the SE has indeed led to an internationalisation of the boardroom; experience with board-level employee representation has in this way been indirectly spread to countries in which such representation does not exist in the domestic corporate governance system. more

ETUI and ETUC Benchmarking Working Europe 2014

The report – available in PDF format and print – reviews the crisis and EU austerity policies in the past five years from the point of view of Europe's social agenda. It comprises a critical, fact-based diagnosis of the first five years of the EU’s crisis management policies in view of the Europe 2020 agenda. It suggests that Europe finds itself “half-way through a lost decade” and provides the scientific underpinning of the ETUC’s political roadmap for a ‘new path for Europe’. Chapter 7 takes stock of workers’ rights to information, consultation and board-level employee representation at both the national and transnational levels. Chapter 4 conducts a stocktaking exercise in relation to the last five years of significant labour law reforms, including information and consultation rights. more

La participation des travailleurs à l’horizon 2030 – Quatre scénarios

The scenario publication has now been translated into French (also available in EN and DE). "Cette publication s’inscrit dans le cadre d’un exercice ambitieux : se projeter dans le futur, plus précisément en l’an 2030. Quatre scénarios alternatifs explorent les perspectives à long terme et l'évolution du contexte de la participation des travailleurs sous divers angles en Europe." more

Health, safety and risk prevention – Improving information, consultation and participation in enterprises

The publication is the outcome of an ETUC project intended to meet the new needs of trade-union teams, which require a better understanding of the European worker representation systems dedicated to health, safety and working conditions. The material consists of a 68 page long overview report (available in EN, FR, DE, ES and IT) and a package of country factsheets.

The European Convention on Human Rights and the Employment Relationship


The publication focuses on the EU and the interplay between the Strasbourg case law and the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union, analysing the relevance of the ECHR for the protection of workers' rights and for the effective enjoyment of civil and political rights in the employment relationship. It includes, among others, chapters on ‘The right to form and join a trade union in Art. 11 ECHR’, ‘The right to bargain collectively in Art. 11 ECHR’ and ‘The right to take collective action in Art. 11 ECHR’. more


News on European Companies – Update of SE Facts and Figures

The latest SE Facts and Figures are now available on the worker-participation.eu website (also as pdf). As of 1 January 2014 the ETUI‘s European Company Database (ECDB) provides information on a total of 2,052 SEs. An arrangement on worker involvement had been concluded in only 104 of the currently established SEs. In 50 SEs, (transnational) information and consultation rights – usually a so-called ‘SE Works Council’ or similar body – have been negotiated. In 54 SEs the workforce not only has the right to transnational information and consultation but also to participation in the SE’s supervisory or administrative board. more

worker-participation.eu - News Bulletin

The Newsletter reports on developments at European level in the field of worker participation and related topics. In the editorial, Lionel Fulton looks at how the crisis has been used to change the rules. The last few years have seen union rights being reduced in many of the countries most affected by the economic crisis. National legislation in these countries has accelerated the trend to company level bargaining and the influence of collective bargaining has been reduced. At the same time changes in the rules have reduced the ability of unions to represent employees. Although there are some more positive signs, in many countries the position has worsened. This has become very clear in the process of updating the National Industrial Relations pages of the worker-participation.eu website, a task that was completed earlier this year with the support of the SEEurope Network and is now available online in French and German, as well as English. more

News on European Companies – A further 100 SEs set-up since July

The October 2013 edition of the ETUI’s SE News provides the latest data available from the European Company (SE) Database. As of 1 October, a total of 1,966 SEs were registered in 25 countries of the European Economic Area (EEA), an increase of 105 SEs in the past three months. During this period, at least six ‘normal’ companies (with employees and business activities) – four in Germany and two in France – have finished their conversion process and negotiations on employee involvement, among them the well-known rental car company Sixt. more

(Non-) Notification of SE registrations in EU Official Journal

After collecting data on more than 2,000 SEs, registered between 2004 and 12 September 2013, we can now present reliable statistics on how many companies have not published the mandatory notice in the Supplement to the Official Journal of the European Union. According to our findings, 43 per cent of all registered SEs have not published a notice of registration. The data reveal that the notification procedure contained in the SE legislation has not passed the test of practice. more

Upgrade of EWC Database in 2014 – please provide feedback

The ETUI information service on EWCs www.ewcdb.eu has been online since 2007. After six years of operation, we are preparing for an upgrade in 2014. Therefore we are currently collecting input and feedback about the website in order to improve it and adjust it to the users’ current needs. We seek users’ remarks, proposals, and suggestions concerning the website’s contents, interface, and possible new functionalities, etc. We warmly invite you to participate in the survey on www.ewcdb.eu and/or to send feedback directly to Romuald Jagodzinski at rjagodzinski@etui.org. With your help we will be able to map users’ needs more efficiently and address those feasible within our resources. Thank you for supporting us in improving our service for you!

More than 1,000 active EWCs and counting – News from the EWC Database

The ETUI’s database of EWCs currently records 1,039 active EWCs in 962 multinational companies. The highest number of EWCs has been established based on the German (351), French (260), British (186) and Belgian (179) law. Since the entry into force of the recast EWC Directive 2009/38/EC, the pace of establishment of new EWCs seems to be increasing steadily: at least 58 negotiations are known to be currently underway, and the sectoral European trade union federations report that more initiatives to open negotiations are in the pipeline. Further statistical information can be found on the EWCD.eu-Website with ready-to-download charts.

Welcome, Croatia!


Croatia joined the European Union on 1 July, becoming its 28th member state. Croatia is a country with a well-developed national system of industrial relations and where union density – with more than a third of employees belonging to unions – is well above the EU average. Collective bargaining takes place at industry and company level, while workplace representation is provided by both trade unions and works councils. There is some provision, in addition, for the board-level representation of employees. More information can be found on the new country page available on worker-participation.eu (in EN, DE and FR). more

Collective bargaining newsletter database

The archives of the monthly Collective Bargaining Newsletter – compiled by a research team from AIAS in cooperation with the ETUI – are now available. This archive functions as a database containing all Collective Bargaining Newsletters published since February 2008. more

Map and table: Board-level representation in the European Economic Area

In 19 of the 31 members states of the European Economic Area countries there exists legislation on employee board-level representation. Even in countries that have no legal regulations, such as Italy and Belgium, instances may be found (albeit exceptional) of workers’ representatives sitting on the company’s board as the result of a collective agreement. The updated map and comparative table - available in EN, DE and FR - provide an overview on key aspects of the national legislation on board-level representation of employees. more

Update: Arbeitnehmervertretung in Europa (deutsche Fassung)



The German translation of the country reports on worker representation in Europe is now online as well. more

Mise à jour: La représentation des travailleurs en Europe (traduction française)


The French translation of the country reports on worker representation in Europe is now online. The German version will follow soon. more

Updated collections of national industrial relations links


Thanks to our SEEurope-country correspondents, we have also been able to update the collections of industrial relations links. They contain numerous links to national trade union and employer organisations, as well as government websites and other useful online resources (see bottom of country sections). more

New country reports: Health and safety representation of workers in Europe


EU legislation means that in all EU states there are structures providing employee representation in the area of health and safety. However, there are differences in how this representation is organised. A combination of employee health and safety representatives with their own powers and a joint employee/employer committee is the structure used most frequently, but other states only have joint committees, some only have employee representatives, while in others the existing works council plays the key role. The way employee health and safety representatives are chosen also varies and there are also variations in the thresholds for choosing representatives and setting up committees as well as in their powers.The new reports available on worker-participation.eu provide an overview for each member state and include a comparative overview. The reports are also available in French and German. more

News on European Companies – 1865 SEs registered across the EU


The July 2013 edition of the SE News provides the latest data available from the ETUI's European Company (SE) Database. As of 1 July a total of 1,865 SEs were registered in 25 countries of the European Economic Area (EEA), an increase of nearly 100 SEs in the past three months. Recently, several companies have completed their negotiations on employee involvement, among them the three Germany-based companies TRIMET Aluminium SE, TRIMET SE and AL-KO KOBER SE, as well as Valneva SE, with its head office in France. more

In focus: SE dynamics over time

The SE had a relatively slow take-off during the first years following the entry into force of the SE legislation in October 2004. There were two reasons at the beginning: there was a certain reluctance towards a completely new company form and implementation of the SE Directive in a number of Member States was delayed. In 2008, the number of new SE registrations doubled from 88 (2007) to 174 new SEs. In the following two years the acceleration halted again. However, in 2011 the number of SE registrations rose again sharply, with 362 newly set-up SEs (compared to 211 new SEs in 2010). In 2012, another peak was seen, with 569 SEs registered. This ‘SE boom’ can largely be attributed to developments in a single country. more

Update: Country reports on worker representation in Europe


Lionel Fulton (Labour Research Department, UK) has updated for our website the country reports on worker representation in Europe.The reports provide key information on trade unions, collective bargaining, workplace representation, board-level representation and European structures of interest representation. The update will soon also be available in DE and FR language. The reports have been produced with the assistance of the SEEurope Network. more

Implication des travailleurs dans la Société européenne (SE) - Guide pour les acteurs de terrain

En octobre 2001, l’UE a officiellement adopté la législation sur la Société européenne, également connue sous son nom latin Societas Europaea (SE).Ce guide vise à garantir que les opportunités offertes par la législation sur la SE soient exploitées. Il a d’abord et avant tout été conçu pour aider les acteurs de terrain à préparer et à conduire les négociations portant sur les accords relatifs à l’implication des travailleurs dans les SE. Il présente la SE et le mécanisme de l’implication des travailleurs. Il explique les procédures de négociation et livre des astuces et bonnes pratiques en vue d’une préparation efficace des négociations. S’appuyant sur l’expérience de plusieurs experts, il dresse un panorama des principaux aspects d’un accord constitutif d’une SE et propose un grand nombre de synthèses, graphiques et tableaux comparatifs. Also available in English and German. more

worker-participation.eu - News Bulletin

The new issue of the ETUI's Worker-Participation.eu News Bulletin is now online. In the editorial, Aline Hoffmann writes about "Completing the Jigsaw Puzzle of Workers’ Participation". The complex processes and structures that underpin workers’ participation have been likened to a jigsaw puzzle that is gradually being pieced together in companies across Europe. One part of this still unfinished jigsaw puzzle concerns the need to embed workers’ participation at the European level into information, consultation and negotiation processes at the local and/or national level. Another part of the jigsaw puzzle concerns the potential to establish connections between board-level employee representation on the one hand, and information and consultation on transnational issues which takes place within SE-Works Councils and European Works Councils on the other. more

Benchmarking Working Europe 2013

Widening economic and social gaps among EU member states, as well as among different groups and categories of citizens within society, are not only placing in jeopardy the future of Social Europe but threatening to undermine also the whole project of European integration. The post-2008 recession and debt crisis, helped along by EU leaders’ obstinate clinging to the failing remedies of fiscal austerity, have accelerated the disenchantment of millions of European citizens with the half-century-old project to build and consolidate a European Union. This is one of the most striking conclusions of the ETUI’s Benchmarking Working Europe report for 2013. Chapter 6 is devoted to workers’ rights, worker mobilisation and workers’ voice. more

A decade of experience with the European Company

This publication of the SEEurope Network provides a comprehensive overview of the legislation on the European company (SE – Societas Europaea) and its history and development. It assesses the overall significance and impact of the SE on the business sector and on worker involvement in Europe and provides an outlook for the future of the SE. The publication also makes specific recommendations for policymakers regarding the future revision of the SE legislation specifically as well as European company law and corporate governance generally. more

European company law and the Sustainable Company: a stakeholder approach. Vol. II

In this book, members of the GOODCORP network of researchers and trade unionists present their proposals for European company law which would encourage companies to follow sustainable, stakeholder-oriented strategies. Key proposals include: revising our understanding of the firm and its key stakeholders; strengthening stakeholder ‘voice’ in companies; increasing the transparency of companies through binding requirements for social and environmental reporting; and negotiating employee-friendly agreements with investors through collective bargaining. more

Non-financial reporting beyond the strict minimum: is the workforce a well-informed stakeholder?

This working paper by Jan Cremers of the Amsterdam Institute of Advanced Labour Studies summarises the results of an inquiry by the SEEurope network on the current legal framework and practices in 28 European countries regarding non-financial and sustainability-related reporting by European companies and the role and involvement of trade union representatives in this form of reporting. more

News on European Companies

The dynamic of establishment of SEs speeded up a bit in the last quarter of 2012 and therefore 2013 started with 1,601 registered SEs (175 more than at the time of our previous SE News, 1 October 2012) in the ETUI’s European Company Database (ECDB). As usual, by far the most companies were registered in the Czech Republic and a few more in Germany, Slovakia, France, Denmark and Cyprus. more

The SE Facts and Figures slides have been updated as well in lign with the latest SE data.

In focus – cross-border mobility of SEs

The idea of the SE is to provide a company with a large degree of flexibility and mobility within the European internal market. For this reason, the SE can transfer its seat to a different EEA member state. This transfer of seat does not result in the winding up of the SE nor in the creation of a new legal entity (SE Regulation, Art. 8). In the meantime, 67 SEs have moved their seat into another country. At least 21 belong to the group of normal SEs. To date, no case is known in which the transfer of seat has resulted in a reduction or withholding of participation rights. more

Further ETUI Resources:

European Company (SE) Database

Workers' Participation Europe Network

European Works Council Database

Newsletter on Worker Participation

Documentation Centre