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European Works Councils - Facts and Figures 2006

Since its first publication, this book on the state of play in European Works Councils has become a key reference tool and this newly revised and updated version will prove invaluable to anyone seeking both quantitative information and understanding of the issues surrounding the formation and operation of EWCs. All relevant data is presented in a total of 161 figures, all of them accompanied by explanatory text.

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Collective Bargaining

The vast majority of employees in the Netherlands are covered by collective bargaining, mostly at industry level. However, many large companies negotiate their own deals. Negotiators generally follow the recommendations agreed at national level and recent pay increases have been moderate.

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Information and Consultation Directives (national level)

  • Framework on Information and Consultation
    Council Directive 2002/14/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 11 March 2002 establishing a general framework for informing and consulting employees in the European Community. Related EU documents / reports the framework directive are available on the EU Commission website.
  • Insolvency of the employer
    Directive 2008/94/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2008 on the protection of employees in the event of the insolvency of their employer (replacing Directives 80/987/EEC, 87/164/EEC and 2002/74/EC)
  • Transfer of undertakings
    Council Directive 2001/23/EC of 12 March 2001 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the safeguarding of employees' rights in the event of transfers of undertakings, businesses or parts of undertakings or businesses.
    Further information and documents: EU Commission website

Financial Participation

Workers’ financial participation schemes in the Netherlands are based primarily on national ‘save-as-you-earn’ schemes offering attractive tax incentives for both employers and employees when employee shares are purchased. However, the majority of employees prefer low-risk savings into a special account, even if taxation is not as favourable.

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Key Facts

Population7,327,224
Collective Bargaining Coverage 30%
Proportion of Employees in Unions 20%
Principal Level of Collective Bargaining

company

Workplace Representation

union – but law also provides for the election of other representatives

Board-level Representation

no

Company Board Structure

monistic or dualistic (choice)

Sources: see individual country sections; where a range of figures has been quoted, the lower number has been taken

What makes a good company? Employee interest representation in European company law: reflections and legal provisions (ETUI-REHS Report 94)

Involvement of workers’ representatives is crucial for sound corporate governance, promising both improved economic performance and fulfilment of the Lisbon strategy. This report presents an overview of European company law and its relationship to European law on employee involvement. Thanks to Janja Bedrac’s compilation, trade unionists will find it easier to orient themselves and to identify legal reference points in this relevant and decisive debate.

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Key Facts

Population81,802,000
Collective Bargaining Coverage 62%
Proportion of Employees in Unions 18%
Principal Level of Collective Bargaining

industry

Workplace Representation

works council

Board-level Representation

yes: state-owned and private companies

Company Board Structure

dualistic

Sources: see individual country sections; where a range of figures has been quoted, the lower number has been taken

 Finland

Health and Safety Representation

The main figures representing employees in health and safety are the specially elected health and safety representatives, although in larger workplaces (those with at least 20 employees) a health and safety committee – a body with both employee and management representatives – should also be set up. The intention is that employees should cooperate with the employer in ensuring a healthy and safe workplace, although they also have the right to interrupt work in the case of imminent and serious danger.

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