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Workplace Representation

Elected works councils are the main channel of workplace representation for employees in Spain, although the law also gives a specific role to the unions at the workplace and in larger workplaces the trade union delegate may be the key figure. The works councils themselves are dominated by the unions and, as well as information and consultation rights, they also bargain on pay and conditions at company level.

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Board-level Representation

There is no employee participation at board level in Bulgaria, but under certain circumstances employee representatives can have a consultative role in shareholders’ meetings.

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Key Facts

Population46,196,276
Collective Bargaining Coverage 70%
Proportion of Employees in Unions 19%
Principal Level of Collective Bargaining

industry – but new law gives precedence to company agreements

Workplace Representation

works council – although dominated by unions which are also present directly

Board-level Representation

yes: state-owned companies

Company Board Structure

monistic

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

Key Facts

Population21,355,849
Collective Bargaining Coverage 36%
Proportion of Employees in Unions 33%
Principal Level of Collective Bargaining

industry and company

Workplace Representation

union – other employee representation possible but rare

Board-level Representation

no

Company Board Structure

monistic

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

Netherlands  Netherlands
Bulgaria  Bulgaria

Automatic procedure or intervention needed?

The terms of the directive do not specify whether the right to information and consultation requires specific intervention by the workers’ representatives or whether it is automatic. In many Member States, the right to information and consultation is a right “on demand”: the intended recipients of this right must claim its formal application from the employer, sometimes even when the thresholds are complied with.

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The notion of undertaking and thresholds

In most domestic transposition measures, the term “undertaking” or “establishment” is taken to refer to current national definitions. These definitions may be very diversified, to the point of not reflecting the terminology proposed by the directive.

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Confidentiality

Article 6 of the directive envisages two important limits on employees’ right to be informed and consulted: 1. Employees’ representatives and their experts may be forbidden to reveal to third parties the information provided to them in confidence. 2. The employer may not be obliged to communicate information where it might seriously harm the functioning of the undertaking, to the extent that it can argue that there are objective criteria for its action and that it is a specific situation as envisaged by the laws of the Member States.

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Resources and protection

The European legislator says little on the resources that should be granted to employees’ representatives in order to exercise their mandate. The very vague wording of Article 7 of the Directive leaves ample room for manoeuvre by Member States in transposing the directive into domestic law.

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