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Board-level Representation

Arrangements for employee representation at board level in the 28 EU countries plus Norway can be divided into three groups. There is a group of ten countries where there is no board level representation and a further group of six, where board level representation is limited to state-owned or privatised companies. However, the biggest group of 13 states provides for employees to be represented on the boards of private companies, once they have reached a certain size. These thresholds vary greatly as do other elements of the national arrangements.


Directive on cross-border mergers of limited liability companies (2005/56/EC)

The cross-border merger (or CBM) directive was adopted by the Council of Ministers on 26 October 2005. The main objective of the directive is to make it easier to merge companies across European borders. It should be noted that the worker involvement provisions in the directive are weaker than those provided by the European Company (SE) legislation.

Collective Bargaining

The key level for collective bargaining in Sweden is the industry level, although more than 90% of employees have part of their pay determined by local level negotiations, and 8% have all their pay determined locally. The overall level of coverage of collective agreements is high – estimated at 90%.

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Board-level Representation

Employees are represented on the boards of almost all companies with more than 25 employees (Sweden has a single-tier board system.) There are two or three employee members and they account for around one third of board members in most companies. They are chosen by the union and are generally the key figures in a whole range of employer-union relations.

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Key Facts

Collective Bargaining Coverage 91%
Proportion of Employees in Unions 74%
Principal Level of Collective Bargaining

industry – but much left to company level negotiations

Workplace Representation


Board-level Representation

yes: state-owned and private companies

Company Board Structure

monistic or dualistic

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


Trade Unions

Trade union density is relatively low at around 12% of employees and membership is divided between a large number of organisations. There are two large confederations, NSZZ Solidarność and OPZZ, and one somewhat smaller one, FZZ. However, a significant number of union members are in small local unions not affiliated to any of the main confederations.

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Health and Safety Representation

Elected health and safety representatives are the main way that the interests of employees are represented in the area of health and safety in Hungary. However, in larger employers there is also a joint health and safety committee, made up of representatives of both sides.

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European Works Councils

The purpose of a European Works Council (EWC) is to bring together employee representatives from the different European countries in which a multinational company has operations. During EWC meetings, these representatives are informed and consulted by central management on transnational issues of concern to the company’s employees. Directive 94/45/EC – governing the establishment of such EWCs – is applicable to transnational undertakings and groups of undertakings employing in total more than 1000 employees in the EEA, and at least 150 of them in two member states. The EWC Directive has evolved to become an important gauge of compliance with the European standards and practices shaping the European Social Model. After 10 years of attempts to amend the EWC directive, on 6 May 2009 a recast EWC directive was adopted (2009/38/EC).

European Social Dialogue

In 2005, the European social dialogue celebrated its 20th year: a successful but difficult, steady and ambitious ascent towards the institutionalisation and autonomy of this unique process of introducing industrial relations at European level. As an integral part of the institutional community acquis, at the latest since the introduction of the agreement on social policy in the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, the European Social Dialogue is, at all levels and in its various forms, an important tool for reconciling economic performance and social progress.

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