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Method of appointment/election of EWC members and eligibility for EWC office

This comparative table presents detailed provisions at national level governing the selection methods for EWC members.
Source: Jagodziński and Hoffmann (forthcoming).

Directive 2009/38/EC

The election or appointment of members of the European Works Council shall be carried out in accordance with national legislation and/or practice;

Annexe 1, Article 1 b)

 

(Standard) Nomination/Election (National)

Article in national transposition act

Specific nomination/election procedure or requirement for EWC members

Article

Austria

  • The Austrian SNB members shall be appointed by resolution of the works committee (group or central); If no, by the works council; If two or more works committees (works councils) exist which do not belong to the same undertaking in Austria, a meeting of the members of the works committees (works councils) appointed in the establishment shall be convened by the chairman of the works committee (works council) of the Austrian establishment which is largest in terms of the number of employees entitled to vote; this meeting shall be responsible for adopting the resolution as to the appointment;
  • In undertakings, appointed by resolution of the central works council; In groups, appointed by a resolution of the group representative body;If a works council has not been established in any Austrian establishment the appointment shall be made by the competent statutory body representing the interests of the employees;
  • The adoption of resolutions shall require the presence of at least half the members; Resolutions shall be adopted by simple majority; Due consideration shall be given to appropriate representation of the following groups : wage-earning and salaried employees, the individual establishments and undertakings, and female and male workers.

Article 193 (1996)

 

 

Belgium

  • Appointed by the employees' representatives sitting on the works councils;
  • If no works council present, appointed by the members of the committees for prevention and protection at work;
  • if no committee for prevention and protection at work, ‘commission paritaire’ (sectoral level) may authorise the union delegations of the undertakings or establishments coming under its sectoral competence to appoint the employee members of the SNB;
  • If no, election or appointment by the employees

Article 32

  • The EWC shall be composed of employees elected or appointed from their number by the employees' representatives or, in their absence, by the entire body of employees

Article 31

Bulgaria

  • Employees shall elect at a General Assembly their representatives (reference to the Article 6a of the Labour Court);
  • The General Assembly may concede its functions to representatives elected by the management of the trade union or to representatives of the employees' social and economic interests (for information and consultation according to Article 7, paragraph of the Labour Court)

Article 5 (2006)

 

 

Croatia

  • Croatian members of the SNB are elected by the employees of the company involved in a secret ballot;
  • The lists with candidates may be proposed either by trade unions with members in the company concerned or by a group of at least 10% of the employees

Article 21 (2013)

   

Cyprus

  • Elected according to the following order of priority: trade unions or, in their absence absence, directly by the employees in a direct election.

Article 8.3 and Article 13

  • Elected according to the following order of priority: trade unions or if absence, directly by the employees in a direct election 

[No provision if this rule concerns only Cypriot employees or all the employees represented by the EWC across the entire company]

Article 8.3 and Article 13

Czech Republic

  • In the Czech Republic, appointed from the undertaking's or group's employees at a joint meeting of the employee representatives (which can be both local union organisations and, where they do not exist, works councils);
  • If employees' representatives have not been appointed or if they fail to carry out their activities at some undertaking the employees of such undertaking shall elect a representative to take part, on their behalf in the joint meeting;
  • The allocation of votes at the joint meeting shall be made in proportion to the number of employees represented;
  • Where two or more trade union organisations operate within one undertaking, the trade union organisation with the largest number of members who are employed by the undertaking shall act;
  • Where, for a temporary period, there are both the trade union organisation and the works council operating within one undertaking, members of the EWC shall be appointed by the trade union organisation;
  • Where it is not necessary to hold a joint meeting, it shall be proceded as in the case of appointing or electing a EWC member [JR2] [JR3] 

Section 297 (1) (2007)

  • Appointed from among employees by employees' representatives at their joint meeting;
  • If employees' representatives have not been appointed or if they fail to carry out their activities at some undertaking the employees of such undertaking shall elect a representative to take part, on their behalf in the joint meeting;
  • Where there are two or more employees' representatives within one undertaking, the employees shall elect a joint representative to take part on their behalf in the joint meeting; The allocation of votes at the joint meeting shall be made in proportion.

Section 296 (2) (2007)

Denmark

  • Elected by the employees' representatives on the works councils;
  • if no works council, elected by the shop stewards; or if agreed between the management and the ordinary employees' representatives by all employees
  • If requested the works council or shop stewards may be supplemented by representatives of groups not represented through the ordinary works council members or union representatives

Article 22 (1996)

  • The EWC members shall be elected from among the employees' representatives or, failing that, from among all the employees.

Article 20 (2011)

Estonia

  • The EWC member(s) shall be elected by the general meeting of employees if there is one undertaking/entreprise;
  • The procedure for the election shall be approved by the general meeting of employees;
  • If ther are several undertakings, a joint representation formed of the employees’ representatives (who can be both trade union representatives and elected employee representatives) shall elect the EWC member(s);
  •  Three employees’ representatives
    elected from among the employees for each concerned undertaking or enterprise elected by the general meeting in the joint representation;
  • The number of votes of a member of the joint representation shall be determined in proportion to the number of employees in an undertaking or enterprise represented thereby, Employees’ representatives of the same undertaking or enterprise shall each have the same number of votes.

Section 17 and 25

  • The EWC shall be composed of employees.

Section 24

Finland

  • The employees of the operational units or undertakings located in Finland select their representatives to the EWC by means of an agreement on election;
  • If the personnel do not agree upon the selection procedure of their representatives, the industrial safety delegates representing the two largest personnel groups of the undertakings or operational units shall together organise together organise election of the members to the EWC;
  • All employees have a right to participate in the election of the EWC members organised by the industrial safety delegates.

Section 29 (2007)

 

 

France

  • Appointed by the employees' trade union organisations from among their members elected to the works council or among their trade union representatives in the undertaking or group on the basis of the results of the most recent elections [details regarding the repartition of seats between the unions stipulated in the law];
  •  if no union direct ballot.

Section 5 - Art. L 439-19 et 20 (Transposition of 1996)

 

 

Germany

  • In undertakings: Appointed by the central works council, if only a works council exists the latter shall appoint the members of the SNB;
  • In groups of undertakings: appointed by the combined works council, if also a central works council exists or works council is not represented on the combined works council, the combined works council shall be extended to include the chairpersons of these works councils and their deputies;
  • If no combined works council exists, SNB members are appointed by central works councils or works councils (possibly in joint meetings);
  • When there are at least four German members on an EWC set up according to the subsidiary provisions, the body representing senior management can also send a representative, who has speaking, although not voting rights

Article 23 (1996)

  • The EWC shall be composed of employees of the undertaking/group

Article 22.1 (1996)

Greece

  • Elected by existing trade unions, or by the works council or directly by the employees

Article 70 (2012)

  • The EWC shall be composed of employees of the undertaking/group elected or appointed by their employees' representatives or, in their absence thereof, by the entire workforce

Article 58 (2012)

Hungary

  • Appointment by the works council or, if one exists, the central works council;
  • if more than one central works council, election jointly by all of them;
  • if no works council, the representatives of the employees of the undertaking/branch shall be invited to the appointing meeting of the (central) works council(s), on the appointing meeting the said employee representatives shall be deemed as a member of the works council, or that of the central works council ;
  • Each employee has the right to vote on the employee representative and the employee receiving most of the votes shall be the employee representative

Article 10 and 11 (2003)

  • The EWC shall consist of the representatives of employees of the undertaking/group

Article 10 (2003)

Iceland

  • Election by the shop stewards;
  • if no shop stewards, election by all the employees of the undertaking/branch

Article 21 (1999)

  • Employees' representatives shall elect representatives to the EWC from among their number and, if not possible, they shall be elected by all the employees

Article 21 (1999)

Ireland

  • Elected by the employees or appointed by the employees as determined by them or appointed by the central management on a basis agreed with the employees

Section 14 and Schedule 1 (1996)

  • The EWC shall be composed of employees' representatives who shall be employees of the undertaking/group

Schedule 2 2.1 (1996)

Italy

  • One-third of the Italian members of the European Works Council and/or those involved in the information and consultation procedure shall be appointed by the trade union organisations referred to in Article 5(1), and two-thirds shall be appointed by the representatives of the confederations of trade unions in the undertaking and/or group of undertakings, taking into account the need for a balanced representation of the different categories of employees (management, white-collar workers, manual workers).;
  • If no there are no trade union representatives in the undertaking, the management or parties concluding national collective labour agreements (the unions) shall meet to define the procedures and criteria for establishing the SNB and EWC

Article 6.4 or Article 9.6 and 9.7

 

 

Latvia

  • Elected by the union if it represents at least 50% of the employees of the undertaking/establishment;
  • if no union representation election by the representatives authorised by the employees’;
  •  if no such representatives were authorised, EWC members are elected by all employees

Section 24

  • The EWC shall be composed of employees elected by employees' representatives or by the employees

Section 18

Liechtenstein

  • Appointed by employee representation bodies (not specified)
  • Where there are no employee representatives the election is by all staff
  • The above rules apply also to EWC based on subsidiary requirement (de iure)

 Art. 21 (2000)

  • EWC members representing Liechtenstein employees must be employed in Liechtenstein

Art. 21 (200)

Lithuania

  • Appointed by the representatives of employees;
  •  if several establishments, common agreement of the representatives of employees of the establishments;
  • In case of disagreement for more than 30 days or in case of absence of employee representatives, election by secret ballot at a general staff meeting;
  • if several establishments and no agreement on the appointment between employee representatives within 30 days, election by secret ballot at a joint conference of delegates of employees with every ten employees being represented by one delegate [JR4] 

Article 16.1, 16.2 and 16.3 and Article 26

 

 

Luxembourg

  • Appointed or elected by members of the central delegations (the body bringing together three members from each workplace) or by staff delegations ("délégations du personnel") ;
  • If blue collar workers and white collar workers are represented in two different delegations, the first EWC member is elected/appointed by the members of the delegation representing the majority of the workers of the company, the alternate member by the other delegation

Article L. 432-46 and L. 432-47 (1996)

  • The EWC composed of workers of the company elected or appointed according to the national law or practices by the worker representatives or, if no such have been appointed, by the employees

Article L. 432-32 (1996)

Malta

  • Election by all employees (secret ballot)

Article 6 and Schedule 1.(b)

  • The EWC shall be composed of employees elected or appointed from their number by the employees' representatives or, in their absence thereof, by the entire body of employees

Schedule 1.(b)

Netherlands

  • Appointed by works councils set up at the establishments and undertakings;
  • If one or more central works councils have been established the said appointment shall be made by the latter council or councils;
  • If no central works council, election by one or more group works councils;
  • If not all works councils or group works councils are represented in a central works council or group works council, the appointment shall be effected jointly by the central or group works council(s) and the non-represented works councils; 
  • If no works council exists, election by the entire body of employees (unions may present their candidates)

Section 10 and 17 (1997)

  • Each EWC member shall be elected or appointed pursuant to the law of the Member State in which he
    works
  • Only employees of the undertaking/group may be appointed or elected as members

Article 16.3 + Article 17.2 (1996)

Norway

  • Employees in Norway elect their representative(s) by means of either a written or secret ballot (reference to the article 12-3 of the main agreement signed by LO and NHO stipulating that election shall take place within the individual groups under the direction and control of the shop steward for the particular group, if those entitled to vote in one group belong to more than one union, their shop stewards shall confer on the matter of calling and conducting the meeting, if they fail to agree, this shall be reported to LO and NHO and they jointly shall decide how the election is to be arranged);
  • all employees are entitled to vote, with the exception of those who are members of senior management);
  • Or, in establishments where the abeve procedure is not appropriate, election regulations for employee representation contained in the Companies Act relating to the election of employee board-level representatives shall apply (extensive role for union representatives)

Article 4 c) and 6

 

 

Poland

  • Appointed by a representative local union organisation [criteria for representativeness stipulated in the Labour Code];
  • if no such representative union organisations exist direct election by the employees
  • if more than one representative trade union exists in workplace the representative unions shall come to an agreement;
  • in case of disagreement between representative trade unions direct election by the employees from the number of candidates proposed by the unions
  • Rules are specified when there are employees in Poland employed in more than one establishment and need of an election (election of representatives from these different establishments and then meeting of the representatives to elect from their number the EWC members.

Article 8, Article 9, Article 10 and Article 23.1 (2005)

 

 

Portugal

Appointed in the following order:

  • By agreement between the workers' committee (or works councils) and trade union organisations (if represent at least 5% of employees);
  • if no union is present, by the workers' committee; 
  • If no workers' committee, by agreement between the trade union organisations which together represent over half of the employees who are trade unionmembers in the establishments or undertakings
  • Precise rules on the representativeness of unions (at least 5% of employees alone or conjointly with other unions)
  • If no appointment in accordance with the above rules at least one third of employees can request a direct secret ballot to elect the EWC members from among the candidates proposed by at least 100 or 10% of employees

Article 26

  • The EWC members shall be employees of the undertaking/group

Article 13.2

Romania

  • Appointed or elected by employee representatives;
  • if no representatives are present, appointment by the persons chosen and mandatory to represent employees according to the law;
  • If no representatives election byall employees

Article 4 and 24 (2005)

  • The EWC is composed of employees of the group/undertaking appointed or elected by the employees' representatives or, in the absence thereof, by entire body of employees

Article 24 (2005)

Slovakia

  • Appointed by employees' representatives (both trade union representatives and/or elected works council members) fromx the employees;
  • Where the employees’ representatives do not agree, the employees’ representatives who represent the greatest number of employees employed shall decide;
  • The distribution of votes shall be determined according to the number of employees represented;
  • If no employees' representatives are present, direct election by employees 

Section 247.2 (2011)

  • EWC members shall be employees of the company

Section 247.1 (2011)

Slovenia

  • An assembly of employees shall elect employees' representatives in Slovenia by secret ballot;
  • Works councils, representative unions or at least 50 employees within the undertaking/establishment shall have the right to propose candidates for membership of the EWC

Article 21

  • The EWC shall comprise employees of undertakings and the group of undertakings

Article 20.1

Spain

  • Appointed by a majority decision of the union representations which as a whole represent the majority of the members of, where appropriate, the works council(s) or staff representatives or by a decision of those trade union representations, where these exist, which as a whole represent the majority of these members

Article 27 (1997)

  • The EWC shall be composed of employees elected or appointed from their number by the employees' representatives or, in the absence thereof, by the entire body of employees in accordance with national legislation or practice

Article 17 (1997)

Sweden

  • Members from Sweden appointed by the local employees' organisations which are bound by collective bargaining agreements with the management;
  • Where several local employees' organisations are bound by collective bargaining agreements and they do not agree otherwise, the following order shall apply:
    • In respect of the appointment of one member, this member shall be appointed by the local employees' organisation which represents the largest number of employees in Sweden bound by
      collective bargaining agreements, if several members, reference to the Section 8 (2) and (3) of the Board Representation (Private Sector Employees) Act (1987  (If more than four-fifths of the employees bound by the collective bargaining agreement at a company or group belong to the same local employees' organisation, that organisation may appoint all of the employees' representatives, otherwise the two local employees' organisations that represent the largest number of such employees each appoint one member and one alternate.
    • If the employees are entitled to three members and three alternates, the larger of the two organisations may appoint two members and two alternates);
    • If there are no employees’ organisation bound by a collective bargaining agreement, appointment by the local employees' organisation which represents the greatest number of employees in the company/group

Section 39 and 40

 

 

United-Kingdom

  • If all the UK employees are represented by UK employees' representatives, they shall be elected or appointed by such employees' representatives (recognised trade union or information body);
  • If not all the employees are represented  by the UK employee representatives, election by ballot (single or separate)
  • Complex rules on the ballot defined in the law.

Schedule Article 3 + Article 4 and 5 (1999)

 

 

 

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