What's new on WORKER-PARTICIPATION.EU?
Health and Safety in Europe - updated
The section of www.worker-participation.eu dealing with the overview of Health and Safety provisions in Europe as well as containing detailed infosheets on every EU Member State has just been updated. It now offers an expanded and up to date comprehensive insight into health and safety strutures, forms of representation and other relevant provisions.
The EU company law package: how it should be improved to strengthen workers’ rights and avoid abuse through cross-border company mobility
The proposed EU company law package, which was published in May 2018 by the European Commission, seeks to encourage cross-border company mobility while at the same time protecting stakeholder interests. The ETUI’s GOODCORP network of company law experts has identified three areas where the package needs to be revised in the interests of protecting workers’ rights and discouraging corporate abuse and makes thirteen specific recommendations for amendment. These areas include: improving worker involvement rights; strengthening procedures for discouraging abusive behaviour such as tax evasion; and reducing the potential for fraud through online company foundations.
Download the document.
On 27 June - 29 June 2018 the ETUC and the ETUI for the third time organised a conference: 'The World(s) of Work in Transition'. The Conference took place in Brussels and brought together over 600 participants to discuss four Megatrends impacting working life nowadays. First, the free movement of capital, services and people is altering the allocation of jobs throughout the European internal market. Second, climate change and the energy transition are making many occupations obsolete, while at the same time creating new ‘green’ jobs in emerging sectors and industries. Third, the demographic transition is changing the structure of the labour force and challenging social security systems. Finally, the digitalisation of the economy is set to disrupt the processes of production, employment and work conditions on an unprecedented scale.
Among the topics discussed were also issues related to workers' participation. Two panels were devoted to discussing various aspects of workers information, consultation and participation:
1) Panel 3 - Company mobility fueled by digitalisation and Europeanisation: how can we shore up workers’ rights?
2) Panel 6 - The role of worker’s participation in addressing the digitalisation-driven Europeanisation strategies of MNCs.more ...
The EWPCC of the ETUI organized a workshop “Workers’ participation in corporate governance” on 23th April 2018, in Madrid (Escuela Muñiz Zapico from CCOO).
The workshop had four main objectives: situate workers’ participation as a means to democratize the company in the context of after-crisis modernization of industrial relations in Spain, promote a theoretical-practical debate on the issue, illustrate with empirical comparative data on institutional models and existing practices of workers’ representation at European level, and finally, collectively learn from exchange of experience between workers’ representatives involved in corporate decisions in different companies and EU Member States.more ...
The law adopted by the German Bundestag on the 01 January 2016 setting mandatory quota levels for female supervisory board representation within both DAX registered companies and large co-managed companies appears to start having a real impact. In a recent report (annual “DAX 30 Supervisory Board Study, 2018) consultancy company Russel Reynolds Associates indicated that for the first time the 30% female minimum threshold has been reached globally across the DAX registered companies. In the company that was the last to meet the quota requirements, the SAP’s, the supervisory board now actually stands at 56% versus 22% a year ago. Only five DAX companies are falling short, namely Adidas, Henkel, Infineon, Merck, and Continental and must urgently appoint female representatives.more ...
An overview infographic presenting milestones on the road to adopitn the EWC Recast Directive 2009/38/EC.more ...
EWC Recast Directive: trade union demands and research evidence for making changes to legislative frameworks
At the ETUC annual conference on EWCs that took place on 17-18 October 2017 under the title 'EWC Directive Revision: Mission Impossible?' the ETUI presented two infographics summarising
1) trade union demands for changes to the legislative frameworks;
2) research evidence, facts, figures and findings concerning shortcomings and loopholes in the existing legal frameworks.
Societas Europaea: latest developments update, by Anders Carlson (Workers' Participation Europe Network)
Anders Carlson of the ETUI's expert network Workers' Participation Europe presents an update & overview of the last developments in the area of SEs in Europe.
The conference's main theme was Strengthening Workers` Voice. This topic was discussed in view of the forthcoming elections to the European Parliament that are due to be held in May 2019. They will determine what chance we stand of continuing to develop a Social Europe fit to live in, with positive prospects for jobs and companies, or whether we shall be stuck with the task of defending Europe against its proliferating crew of political enemies.
Vigorous democratic development of the social market economy will be decisive in determining the future of the European Union.more ...
'Let's transform work' - Recommendations and proposals from the Commission on the Work of the Future (K. Jürgens, R. Hoffmann, Ch.Schildmann)
What is the future of work? How to shape it? What's the role of workers' participation in this? These valid questions were addressed, among many more, in the recently (April 2018) published report 'Let's transform work' by Prof. Dr. Kerstin Jürgens, Reiner Hoffmann (President of the German Trade Union Confederation) and Christina Schildmann (Head of Commission on the Work of Future), published by the Hans-Boeckler Foundation.
The report addresses the general questions of change in the world of work by focusing in particular on two questions. Firstly, what will the work of the future look like? And secondly, what are the new challenges facing employment policy makers? This includes, among others, digital change, but is also linked to the broader context of demographic change, infrastructure, immigration, new forms of employement, precarity, income, new concept of company, etc. Especially the last question is of relevance for workers and their representatives, as it determines their direct environment and the functioning of information, consultation and codetermination systems in Europe. This produces some pertinent questions: 'What does it mean for social partnership if companies and industries ‘fluidify’ and it becomes increasingly impossible to draw clear boundaries between them? What form would effective trade union representation take in a network company, without trade unions’ poaching on each other’s territories?'
Policy Brief by Tove Maria Ryding
Tove Maria Ryding in cooperation with the ETUI's GoodCorp Expert Network casts light on the links between tax avoidance and how workers' voice be a countermeasure and a means to making companies more sustainable.
Tax avoidance by corporations is widespread in Europe and costs governments more than €70bn annually. This revenue loss, and the legal ramifications of strategies that multinational companies use to avoid paying taxes, starves public services of funding, limits the bargaining power of trade unions and undermines employee rights. This ETUI policy brief outlines the scale of the problem, describes some of the ways that corporations limit their tax liabilities, and suggests some practical solutions. The brief shows that corporations have a range of strategies for avoiding paying taxes, including: declaring themselves to be multinationals; use of ‘transfer pricing’ to shift sales from high to low tax jurisdictions; and concluding secret tax deals with governments. Wealthy individuals also have a number of accounting and legal tricks available to them to conceal their assets.more ...
The 2017 revised Shareholder Rights Directive gives shareholders a say on executive pay and requires institutional investors to improve shareholder engagement. The directive is thus designed to provide a counterweight to the increasingly dominant ‘shareholder’ model of corporate governance which has put the interests of firms’ shareholders ahead of other stakeholders, including their workers. Drawing on the experience of the UK, Europe’s leading exponent of the shareholder model whose experience heavily influenced the Commission’s thinking, this brief analyses the workings of the directive, discusses its implications for worker’s rights and suggests how trade unions should respond.more ...
On the 20/03/2018 the annual report on socio-economic developments in the European Union in 2018 was published. The report is a common publication by the European Trade Union Institute and the European Trade Union Confederation published yearly since 2001 and features brief analyses, facts and figures as well as critical evaluation of developments in the EU.
This year's Benchmarking Working Europe focuses on whether the European Union is really on the path towards convergence.
Chapter 5 of the publication focuses on social policy-making and workers' representation.more ...
On 12 February, the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) in London delivered its judgment in a dispute between the Oracle European Works Council and the group’s management. While the case featured, sadly, a fairly ordinary dispute over restructuring and lack of appropriate EWC involvement, some parts of the judgement of the Central Arbitration Committee leave many experts concerned. The CAC decided, among others, that:
1. EWC requests for financial information about the redundancy plans had the sole purpose of checking or challenging management's decision, which is not within the competence of EWCs;
2. As to whether there is an obligation on management to wait until the EWC issues its opinion before implementing a managerial decision decision at national and local level, the CAC found that the legal provisions referring to linking and the coordination of procedures at European and national level 'do not indicate that the management cannot apply its decision before the European Works Council issues its opinion'.more ...
"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 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.
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 ...
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 ...
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'
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 ...
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.
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 ...
Publication date : 2017
Number of pages : 75
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 ...
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 ...
On 24 January 2017, the European Court of Justice heard what could turn out to be a landmark case (C-566/15 Erzberger) conce
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 ...
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).
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 ...
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).
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.
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.
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information on the guide please contact email@example.com and follow EFFAT on Twitter at @EFFAT_Press
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 ...
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
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).
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
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
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)
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 ...
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 ...
On 25-26th February, 2016 the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) is organising a academic/research workshop on the EWC Recast Directive.more ...
Publication date: 2015
Number of pages: 237
Edited by: Sigurt Vitols (ETUI)
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 ...
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:
'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 Kerckhofsmore ...
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'
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 ...
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)
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 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'
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 ...
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
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 ...
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 ...
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
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