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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 Works Councils Database

The ETUI's EWC database contains the texts of agreements that have established European Works Councils, as well as agreements negotiated by EWCs on specific topics. It also presents information on multinational companies falling within the scope of the EWC Directive. The database has been widely used as a reference source by assorted EU and national institutions as well as research and academic centres. The database contains 3000 documents and well over 1000 EWC agreements in various language versions. Click here to visit the EWC Database!

Recast of European Works Council Directive

After 10 years of attempts to amend the EWC directive (94/45/EC) on 16 May 2009 the European Commission announced a revised recast directive 2009/38/EC. The new directive – adopted in April 2009 – is the outcome of an intense legislative process that took place throughout 2008.

In 2018 the publication of the official report on implementation of the EWC Recast Directive by the European Commission marks what is expected to be a begining of another stage in the improvement of their legal framework.

EWC / SE-WC / SNB Training

An increasing number of agreements on the setting up of European works councils or SE works councils contain provision for training of representatives to be financed by the firm. In this framework, the ETUI Education Department organises made-to-measure courses in response to requests from European works councils, SE works councils and Special Negotiating Bodies (SNBs).

EWC Recast Evaluation Infopack: publications by the ETUI

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'.

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EWC stats 

Multinationals having
an EWC: 1158

EWCs ever created: 1619

Active EWC Bodies: 1189

(Data as of 23/02/2021)

For more information and up-to-date figures visit:



Romuald Jagodzinski
Senior Researcher, ETUI
Tel +32 (2) 224 04 73

Stan De Spiegelaere
Senior Researcher, ETUI
+32 2 224 0414

ETUI Policy Brief:

Implementation of enforcement provisions of the European Works Councils Recast Directive: are sanctions really ‘effective, proportionate and dissuasive’?