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National debates

Directive 2002/14/EC, in referring explicitly in its article 2(e) to the representatives of employees as the institution with which the right of information and consultation is deposited, requires countries with a voluntarist tradition (i.e. countries without legally binding rules on information and consultation) to arrange by statute or agreement for the creation and operation of such bodies. Moreover, Directive 2002/14/EC introduces changes to the Member States’ systems of employee representation that directly affect the very organisation of representation.

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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 is the special negotiating body (SNB)?

Who sits on the special negotiating body (SNB)?

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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What is the “representative body” (RB)?

Workplace Representation

note2

Works councils provide representation for employees at the workplace and they have substantial powers – extending to an effective right of veto on some issues. Although not formally union bodies, union members normally play a key role within them.

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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

Board-level Representation

Workers in companies with more than 150 employees have the right to participate in management decisions. The mechanism for doing so can be agreed between the company and the employee representatives. However, if there is no agreement, it is up to the company to decide the level at which employee are represented: in a single-tier board, in a supervisory board or at operating level.

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