Plant competition as a
challenge for the EWC
aircraft manufacturer, Airbus, the most important division of the EADS
group, has not yet come to a halt. With the program "Power8", costs
amounting to billions will be cut, even though the company’s
books are full of orders. Administrative costs are supposed to be
reduced by 30 per cent, the production tightened up and distributed
around the plants more efficiently. Part of the production will go to
companies outside the group and a number of sites will be sold to
investors. These plans were triggered off by a delay in supplies to the
wide-body aircraft A 380.
European works council was informed about the program "Power8" on 28th
February 2007. On the previous day the EADS coordination group of the
European Metalworkers’ Federation (EMF) in Brussels had
on a catalogue of demands. After the announcement of the Power8 program
by the employer, IG Metall also formulated its demands in the "Varel
anticipation of the EWC meeting in Toulouse on 14th March 2007, trade
unions had prepared more than 100 questions for central management.
These were not all answered. The management gave the impression of
holding a monologue rather than a discussion with the workers'
representatives, as the French trade union, Force Ouvrière
said in a press release after the meeting.
workers' representatives are not just demanding the withdrawing of the
"Power8" restructuring plan but also want to conduct negotiations about
the industrial future of Airbus. On 16th March 2007 protests took place
for this reason, 20,000 workers protested in Hamburg alone (see photo).
In all Airbus plants Europe-wide 40,000 people participated. Another
EWC meeting in Toulouse on 4th April 2007 also produced no result
although thousands of workers went on strike again for four hours the
solidarity at Airbus wasn't automatic. The FO trade union, which has
strong support in the workforce (winning 47% of the votes at the works
council elections in Toulouse), published a report in January
2007, according to
which French locations are more efficient and more economic than all
other plants in Europe. Rüdiger
Lütjen, chairman of the Airbus Germany group works council,
this study "impertinence", rejecting its contents completely. German
plants would be at least as productive as French ones - if not more
productive from time to time. The following documents are only
available in German:
with the EWC chairman
does the EADS Group workers' representatives’ cooperation
like in practice? There are several European division works councils
for the different divisions within the holding (e.g. for Airbus). The
chairperson of the EWC for EADS as a whole,
Gérard Patot (photo), comes from the
helicopter production of Eurocopter in the Marignane plant near
Marseilles. He is a member of the trade union FO and heads the European
division works council Eurocopter. Kathleen Kollewe has interviewed him
about his experiences for EWC News.
Nokia Siemens Networks refuses to disclose data
representatives of Siemens and Nokia from Germany, Finland, France,
Belgium, Spain and Austria met at the European Metalworkers’
Federation (EMF) in Brussels on 14 February 2007. Although the merger
of the network divisions took place on 1st April 2007, the works
councils didn’t get any reliable figures or financial
from management in order to be able to form an opinion about the
consequences. 10 - 15 % of the 60,000 workers of this joint venture are
to be cut. In a press release the management was criticized for its
lack of transparency. There isn't a European works council for Nokia
Siemens Networks (NSN) till now
yet, at present the coordination committee of the
EMF is representing workers' interests.
BNP Paribas informs EWC very late
the takeover of the Italian bank BNL (Banca Nazionale del Lavoro), with
17,000 workers, by BNP Paribas, the European works council of the
French bank finds itself confronted with a renegotiation of its EWC
agreement. More than the distribution of mandates will come under
scrutiny. The more important question regards the position workers'
representatives take regarding the staff cuts, resulting from the
merger, which is currently taking place in Italy, Spain and Luxembourg.
In an extraordinary meeting on 20th February 2007, the EWC was informed
about the plans for the first time. There have been intense bilateral
contacts between the trade unions CGT (France) and CGIL (Italy) in the
past however they were unable to develop a Europe-wide perspective for
the current negotiations of a social compensation plan.
Basic agreement for RWE Energy
European works council and the central management of RWE Energy signed
a basic agreement concerning the handling of restructurings in Dortmund
on 14th March 2007. The agreement is valid in Germany, Czechia,
Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Austria and the Netherlands. It is based on
the EWC agreement of 2005. There isn't one European works council for
the entire group but separate committees in each division.
Europe-wide negotiations at
central management of the French pharmaceutical company has recently
agreed to hold negotiations on employment training, the social
consequences of restructuring and the integration of seriously disabled
persons with the European works council. A working group consisting of
members of both parties will meet for the first time on 19th April 2007
to agree on the exact procedure. The question at issue is, whether the
negotiations should be conducted by the EWC steering committee or by a
trade union coordination committee. The formation of such a committee,
parallel to the already existing structures of the EWC, is already
common practice in many companies of the metal industry.
Priority on the strengthening of the European
face of the wave of cross-border restructuring that is currently to be
observed, the European Metalworkers' Federation (EMF) sees one of its
main tasks to organize solidarity within multinational companies. After
the first conference on company policy in November 2006 in Brussels, it
has now presented its position. The most important point is the
strengthening of the European works councils.
What EWC work after a
agreement for UniCredit completed
agreement was signed for the Italian bank UniCredit on 26th January
2007. The reason for the negotiations was that, after the buying up of
HVB Group (Hypovereinsbank and Bank Austria Creditanstalt), a
UniCredit's EWC only existed in Germany, not in Italy. The new EWC
represents 145,000 workers across Europe, not only in EU countries but
also in Switzerland, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, San Marino, Turkey,
Russia, and the Ukraine. The bank has the most workers in Italy, Poland
EWC receives far-reaching participation rights which go beyond
information and consultation and are comparable with the regulations
recently agreed on for the Allianz insurance company. The agreement
provides for two regular meetings per year and up to two extra sessions
for exceptional circumstances. The steering committee of six members,
who should come from four different countries in the EWC, can set up
working groups on relevant subjects and reach agreements on these with
central management. The subjects expressly mentioned, are in-company
training, equal opportunities, antidiscrimination and occupational
health and safety.
of new EWC agreement for Arcelor Mittal
takeover of Arcelor by Mittal the two European works councils were soon
united as well. The third round of negotiations took place on the
subject of a new EWC agreement in Brussels on 19th and 20th March 2007.
The principles of social dialogue, developed at Arcelor will be
transferred to ArcelorMittal, according to the works councils' wishes.
Provided that this is guaranteed, the only remaining contentious issue
with central management would be the number of delegates in the new
EWC. The workers' representatives want to enlarge it from its current
48 members to 72; and the steering committee from 16 to 25 members.
Central management refuses. The fourth round of negotiations will take
place in the Northern Spanish city of Avilés on 17th and
management representatives from all over the world met with experts of
the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Turin to discuss
possible legal consequences of a worldwide framework agreement on 3rd
and 4th April 2007. Shortly before the buy-up by Mittal, Arcelor
completed such a framework agreement with the trade unions in September
EWC integrates Winterthur delegates
the sale of the Swiss insurance company, Winterthur, by
Suisse to the French insurance group Axa in December 2006, Axa's EWC
decided to integrate ten workers' representatives of Winterthur into
its future ranks. Nine of them belonged to the EWC of Crédit
Suisse before. Neither the employer nor the Axa EWC secretary
considered it to be necessary to negotiate a new EWC agreement for the
time being. This means that the European works council of Axa has grown
from 51 on 61 members. It will hold its next meeting in Berlin in June
2007. Even before the sale the secretary of the EWC of
Suisse had taken part in the meetings of the EWC steering committee of
Axa as a permanent guest to ease integration. Since the year 2005 Axa
has held basic principles concerning the social dialogue on
restructuring of this type.
Works Councils take legal action
Important court decision for
the decision should have already been made on 3rd April 2007 but the
French court, called by the European works council, adjourned until
27th April 2007. Several hundred workers, some of them from abroad, had
arrived in Paris by bus in order to witness the decision from the
proximity of the courtroom. The court has to decide whether the central
management had sufficiently complied with obligations, concerning the
information and consultation of the "European Committee for Information
and Dialogue" (ECID) - so
the official name of the EWC - on the subject of a restructuring plan.
French group Alcatel (58,000 employees) and the U.S. company Lucent
Technologies (30,000 employees), a former section of AT&T, had
merged on 1st December 2006. With its headquarters in Paris, the new
transatlantic group has become a worldwide leading manufacturer of
telephone and internet technology. Due to this merger 12,500 jobs are
now on the list of cuts. In Germany in particular, the plants in
Stuttgart and Nuremberg are threatened.
numerous local protests in the countries concerned (France, Germany,
Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium), the European works council
called for a protest day. About 4,500 people from several countries
took part in the demonstration in Paris on 15th March 2007. During the
period, leading up to this protest day, central management had
threatened to switch off the intranet pages of the EWC to withdraw the
electronic platform for such protests.
in interpreter's cubicle
EWC meeting on 23rd March 2007 shows the means that central management
of Alcatel-Lucent have resorted to, in order to push through its
restructuring plans against the will of the works councils. EWC members
discovered a lawyer, working for the employer, after he had been
smuggled in into the interpreters' room in order to eavesdrop on the
workers' representatives' internal debate. The EWC exposed this event
public in a press release.
to the merger the workers' representatives of both enterprises had
tried to negotiate a new EWC agreement. They were however unsuccessful
due to resistance on the management side. This means that the former
Alcatel agreement remains valid in the merged company.
the current legal proceedings, the group's central management's
position is that the ECID is merely a committee for social dialogue and
not a fully fledged European works council. They are not entitled to
the information and consultation rights of an EWC, according to EWC
Directive, because the committee was established in 1996 on a
"voluntary" basis before the national EWC laws came into effect. Such
agreements actually still benefit from special protection according to
article 13 of the EWC Directive.
Possible consequences of the verdict
this context the forthcoming decision of the French court is of
considerable significance to all enterprises that completed a
"voluntary" EWC agreement before the deadline in September 1996.
According to the calculations of the European Trade Union Institute,
this applies to about 430 companies, including almost all well-known
big companies (many of them on the German stock market, DAX). Should
the court in Paris favour the trade union position, undreamt-of
possibilities for the improvement of the EWC's weak participation
rights would arise in these enterprises, without even a revision of the
of the EWC agreement as invalid
French construction and telecommunications group, Bouygues, is to
obtain a new EWC agreement after their "voluntary" agreement, dating
from 1995, was been declared invalid by a Paris court. Consequently in
March 2007 central management agreed to the formation of a Special
Negotiation Body (SNB), consisting of 17 members.
court of appeal declared the former agreement invalid on 12th October
2006. The complaint had been launched by the trade union, CGT, because
it felt itself to be disadvantaged in the naming of delegates for the
EWC. The judges decided that the agreement on the formation of a
"European Committee for Social Dialogue" had been reached correctly,
according to article 13 of the EWC Directive, but not correctly
extended later on. The CGT, one of the signatories of the agreement,
hadn't agreed to the extension. This court decision in actuality means
that every trade union in Europe can prevent the continuation of the
validity of an article 13 agreement, provided that it was originally
one of the signatories.
comparable agreement is currently being negotiated at the labour court
in Stuttgart, Germany. The prosecutor is the works council of Stilke
station bookshops in Hamburg in this case. Stilke is a subsidiary of
the Swiss Valora group.
Vaxholm (or Laval) case in ECJ
European Court of Justice (ECJ) discussed the case of Vaxholm for the
first time on 8th January 2007. The case is of Europe-wide
significance. The question is in the centre, whether industrial action
according to EU law, to force foreign companies to observe Swedish
industry-wide wage agreements on Swedish soil also for foreign workers.
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) used the beginning of the
court case in Luxembourg as an opportunity to confirm its legal
Employers consider legal proceedings to be a risk
decision, made by a French court, which can definitely be regarded as a
milestone in terms of jurisdiction on the EWC Directive, was passed as
early as November 2006. The European works council of Gaz de France
could hinder the planned merger with Suez, using a last-minute
injunction. While the decision in the main proceedings has yet to be
made by the highest French court of appeal (a decision cannot be
expected in the short term), other European works councils are already
referring to this verdict.
Thomson EWC threatens legal proceedings
8th February 2007 the steering committee of Thomson EWC decided to take
legal action. The French electrical company wants to close down in
Luxembourg and the UK and shift its DVD production centres to Poland.
The information and consultation rights of the European works council,
which central management and EWC had agreed upon in May 2006, in an
appendix to the EWC agreement, were not respected. The EWC secretary (=
spokesman on the workers' side) was also denied access to both plants.
the decision the management agreed to pay a financial analysis for the
EWC and temporarily stopped the measures in the two countries. The EWC
is seeking to establish minimum social standards which would become a
component in a redundancy scheme in the plants concerned.
management gives way at the
European works council of the French tyre manufacturer, Michelin, also
referred to the court decision mentioned above, concerning Gaz de
France. A vicious lawsuit was called off at the last minute on 3rd
April 2007. At a meeting in the rooms of the European Mine, Chemical
and Energy Workers' Federation (EMCEF) in Brussels, the employer duly
agreed to comply with the consultation procedure and conceded to the
special sessions that the EWC was demanding.
a German perspective, in the face of a lack of co-determination right,
this kind of EWC demand needs quite to be explained. Prof. Kotthoff's
study, which we have repeatedly referred to in EWC News, presents a
typical French EWC meeting:
Employer lobby recommends risk
employers' friendly London consultancy and lobby office "European Study
Group" has recently published an article under the title "European
Works Councils flex their muscles". It claims that trade unions abuse
European works councils, to get employers into difficulty. After a
number of years of peace and harmony, they now allegedly influence
multinational companies' decisions with European works councils,
through the courts. This would supposedly be a new strategy because
they were unsuccessful in revising the EWC Directive at the European
Commission. It is followed by an advertisement for the author:
Personnel managers should practise risk estimation, with expert advice
in order to avoid being the next victim of such trade union strategies.
On their part, trade unions regard the
statement of "European Study Group" as a call to breach the EWC
social standards agreed
Pan-European Social Charter at Generali
the European works council of the Italian insurance group, Generali,
had organized a Europe-wide action day against restructuring plans on
17th October 2006, central management presented a European social
charter, in written form, to the steering committee at the meeting in
Venice on 28th November 2006. It is to become a component of the EWC
agreement. Besides the ban on child labour and discrimination, it also
includes the obligation of the enterprise to the promotion of
competence development and in-company training in the case of
restructuring. In future workers' representatives are to be involved in
consultation procedures in good time in any country where Generali is
represented with branch offices.
Worldwide framework agreements
concerning minimum social standards
On 15 December 2006 an international
framework agreement was signed in Sydney for the 40,000 workers of
National Australia Group (NAG)
in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. The agreement provides for a
meeting between workers' representatives and the management of the bank
once a year to verify compliance with the agreement.
also wants to present itself as a socially responsible company. In the
agreement on minimum social standards with validity worldwide, signed
with the trade unions in Paris on 21st December 2006, the management
obliges itself to include the workers' representatives concerned in
talks about restructuring measure in good time. The written proposal to
negotiate the establishment of a world works council then followed this
agreement on 15 February 2007.
On 22 January
2007 the global trade union
confederation, Building and Wood Workers' International (BWI), signed a
framework agreement with worldwide validity with the Dutch construction
in Rotterdam. It also is supported by the European works council. A
monitoring group, made up of trade unions and the group's central
management, is to verify compliance with the agreement once a year.
Outside the Netherlands VolkerWessels is strongly represented in
Belgium, Germany, the UK, USA and Canada.
industry: Talks with suppliers
in Portugal and Turkey
of the management and the workers of the Spanish textile retailer,
Inditex Group, have held talks with local textile companies in Porto
and Istanbul. Inditex would like to reduce the number of its suppliers
and there by make a qualitative choice. Enterprises, which
conscientiously fulfil Inditex's code of conduct, will be preferred. In
an audit the quality of working conditions and health protection will
be evaluated, the avoidance of excessive amounts of overtime and
payment, according to the legally permitted standards are also included.
Negotiations under way in
the decision of the general meeting to change the medicine enterprise
into a European company (SE) on 4th December 2006, the negotiation of a
Europe-wide participation agreement with the workers' side began on
16th January 2007. Central management would not only like to simplify
the corporate legal structures with the transformation but also prevent
an expansion of the supervisory board to 20 members. This would be
legally binding for a German public limited company, however it is
subject to negotiation in the case of European companies.
BASF also wants to become an SE
27th February 2007 the world market leader in the chemical industry
announced that it was to assume the legal form of the European company
(SE). The official decision will be made at the general meeting on 26th
April 2007. The workers' side will then elect 29 members to a special
negotiation body (SNB) which will negotiate an agreement on
participation with central management within six months. The workers'
side wants to assign the precision work in detail to a small
employers' side would obviously like to achieve a reduction of the
supervisory board from 20 to 12 members. This question played a role
also during the negotiations in the insurance group Allianz as well as
in Fresenius. The European works council, which has been in existence
since 1995 (official name: BASF Euro Dialogue), is soon to be replaced
by a Europe-wide SE works council which fulfils the trade unions' wish
for much more extensive rights. The BASF dialogue forum was a pioneer
of the early phase of European works councils but is in many ways no
longer up-to-date: It can for example only meet once a year.
Conrad Electronic registers as
retailer, Conrad Electronic, has been signed up as a European company
(SE) since 18th August 2006. Though the 2,300 workers don't send any
representative to the supervisory board, their interests are looked
after by the finance committee of the German group works council.
Elcoteq intends to transfer its
electronics company Elcoteq, based in Finland, was one of the first
enterprises Europe-wide to adopt the legal form of an SE on 1st October
2005. The central management has now announced the transfer of its head
office to Luxembourg on 1st January 2008 in order to improve its
globalisation strategy and to increase competitiveness. This will not
have effects on the participation agreement.
Councils in the service sector
lagging in EWC foundation
service sector is the most important economic sector in the European
single market, after the metal industry, with regard to the number of
companies which fall under the EWC Directive. While the production
sectors of metal and chemistry have already managed to found more than
40% of all European works councils Europe-wide, the service sector
takes the last place, of all sectors, with 24%, according to the
calculations of the European Trade Union Institute. In June 2005 the
EWC Directive applied to 595 service companies, there were 148 European
works councils in 143 firms. This number should be a little higher by
now. About half of all EWC bodies have already been in existence since
the mid nineties.
the remaining enterprises in the metal and chemistry industry without
an EWC prove to have a small number of staff, there still a
considerable number of larger companies without an EWC is in the
service sector. British and Swedish service companies have been faster
at founding EWCs than those from Germany or France. Another unusual
feature: European works councils in the service sector are confronted
with mergers more frequently than in any other economic sector.
coordinator of EWC work
coordination of the European works councils in the service sector is
carried out by the Brussels office of the Federation of European trade
unions in the service sector (UNI). Ivonne Jackelen
(photo) has been responsible for this task since October 2006. She met
Werner Altmeyer in Brussels and talked about her work.
present UNI is supporting
172 existing and emerging European works councils:
enterprises from the press
and publishing industries
banks and insurance companies
information technology enterprises
post and telecommunications groups
enterprises of the wholesale and retail trade
enterprises from the cleaning and security sector
well as 2 of each of
temporary agency work, tourism and the entertainment industry.
Banks complete first EWC agreements in Cyprus
has been part of the EU and therefore fallen within the scope of the
EWC Directive since 1st May 2004. However only 65 of the 2,204
enterprises, which fall within the scope of the EWC Directive, are
represented with a branch office in the Mediterranean island. 33 of
these had already founded an EWC by June 2005. The first two EWC
agreements, signed in Cypriot enterprises were with Marfin
Popular Bank and Bank of Cyprus in
February 2007. Both agreements go beyond the minimum standards of the
EWC Directive and also include branch offices in Greece and the UK as
well as in Cyprus. The negotiations were above all conducted by the
Cypriot bank workers trade union (ETYK).
sector-specific reports in past issues of EWC News (only in German):
8. Czechia: New Labour Code and
Republic has been an EU member since 1st May 2004. With 10 m.
inhabitants, the country is larger than Austria. Czechia has a long
industrial tradition however many enterprises have been sold to foreign
investors over the last few years. Today the subsidiaries of foreign
groups are responsible for half of all industrial production, about a
third of employment in industry and about 70% of exports.
density is about 30%; a similar number of workers are covered by
collective agreements. This means that the grey area of unregulated
workplaces is substantially larger than in many Western European
countries. The Czech trade union confederation ČMKOS organizes about
600,000 members in 33 federations. There are also smaller trade unions
but they are relatively insignificant in comparison with ČMKOS. A new
labour code, which came into effect in Czechia on 1st January 2007,
have brought about some changes. We have compiled some documents here
which can help to understand Czech labour laws:
The Czech model of workers'
Czech Republic has only known
trade union workers' representation, founded by at least just three
people, since its transition to the market economy. To make a workers'
representation in accordance with EU standards possible for enterprises
without trade union, a regulation concerning the founding of "works
councils" was included in the labour code of 2001. Accordingly a works
council may be founded on request of a third of the workforce, on the
condition that there isn't any trade union representation in the
company already. It is to be dissolved automatically if a trade union workers' representation is
founded later on. This solution, now described as the "Czech
Model", didn't exist in any other European country before.
According to the law, works councils have fewer rights than a trade
union representatives' committee. If an active works council operation
develops in a company without a trade union, it can serve as an
incentive for the transformation of the works council into a trade
union representatives' committee.
European Works Councils in
As the other
countries joining the EU, the EWC Directive came into effect on the day
of Czechia's admission to EU, that is on 1st May 2004. Of 2,204
enterprises Europe-wide which could potentially set up a European works
council, 636 are represented by a branch office in Czechia (according
to the calculations of the European Trade Union Institute in June
2005). This number is more or less comparable with Denmark or Ireland.
Amongst the new EU member countries, Czechia ranks third place after
Poland and Hungary.
eight of these 636 enterprises have their headquarters on Czech soil.
So the national economy is in the hands of foreign groups which
frequently use the country as an "extended workbench" of the European
single market. As many as 231 of the 636 enterprises are German. Almost
the half of all enterprises with locations in Czechia had already
founded an EWC in June 2005. These 333 councils are now to be enlarged
to include delegates from Czechia. A study in the year 2003 shows that
at that time over 50 delegates from Czechia were already involved in
various EWC bodies, half of them in the metal industry.
The first EWC foundation in a
EWC agreement was signed for the electricity company, ČEZ, in Prague on
3rd April 2007. It is the first European works council in a Czech
enterprise and the first case for an EWC agreement that exclusively
covers into new EU countries. The EWC represents 25,000 workers in
Czechia, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. It consists of 23 members. Seven
of them are in the steering committee. The information and consultation
rights of the new EWC are considerably more extensive than the minimum
regulations of the EWC Directive.
Guide to EWC
foundation in eastern European languages
context of a project sponsored by the EU, the Slovenian trade union
federation ZSSS prepared a guide for the foundation of European works
councils for workers' representatives from the new EU member states in
June 2006. It is available in Czech, Polish, Slovenian and French.
Previous country specials in
EWC News (only in German):
Management and EWC - a contradictory
January 2006 a research project on European works councils in Austria
is running at the Institute for Society and Social Policy at Linz
University. EWC members, trade union secretaries and management
representatives are interviewed in twelve groups. Similar to the German
study by Prof. Kotthoff the Linz researchers identified several models.
They have investigated the role of central management and classified
into types. We present from now some selected results:
1: The "culture of cooperation"
In type 1 the management feels the involvement of
the EWC as
important to increase identification with the company and to create a
positive corporate image, both internally and externally. There is
often good experience with the course of cooperation in the home
country of the group, which fosters the emergence of a trustful
cooperation at European level.
management operates a transparent and fair information policy to the
European works council and places great emphasis on consultation and
discussion. The relations are not entirely free of conflicts of
interest, but compromises are within reach because of established
cooperative relations. Some issues are not decided against the
delegates in the EWC. This does not apply to the business strategy,
which remains the sole competence of central management, but for labour
policy issues (e. g. for an overall group bonus system or social
aspects of corporate integration).
order to use its influence
here, the EWC must coordinate its positions internally well and agree
on a common policy style towards central management. Only a small,
manageable number of groups is characterized by a cooperative and
consensual culture of type 1.
the next issues of EWC News
the other types will be outlined:
Hand in hand with the works
council to Eastern Europe?
Efficiency and Workers' Participation Rights" - this is the title of a
research project launched at the Institute for Economic Sociology at
University of Vienna in cooperation with the Viennese Research and
Advice Centre of the Working World (FORBA) and the Warwick Business
School (UK) in September 2006. Researchers want to find out whether
multinational enterprises, with their headquarters in Western Europe,
transfer their social policies to their subsidiaries in central and
Eastern Europe. Or do they perhaps choose locations in central and East
European countries because trade unions have fewer rights and works
councils are hardly known there? The following documents are only
available in German:
European labour law from a
legal group, Thompsons Solicitors founded in London in 1921, plays an
important role in the legal representation of workers organized in
trade unions and trade union officers in the UK. Its 800 workers in 22
branch offices are not just concerned with individual but also with
collective labour law. It has published a magazine of its own since
1996, which is freely accessible in the Internet: Thompsons
Labour and European Law Review.
EWC with a web page of its own
works council of the tourism group, Club Méd, has put an
exemplary home page onto the Internet. It presents its work in five
languages (amongst these English and French) under its official name
"European Social Dialog Comittee". You can read discussions with
central management in EWC meetings: e. g. questions and answers on the
group's strategy plan; works agreements from various countries and
press releases can be downloaded.
Statistical evaluation of EWC
the EWC database of the European Trade Union Institute in Brussels
there is another possibility of investigating the contents of EWC
agreements. The Social Development Agency (SDA) also operates a
database. This one processes important characteristics of EWC work
statistically in five languages. A list of all query facilities can be
found on the web page.
General Motors workers' blog
26th March 2007 there has been a public Internet forum ("blog") for
General Motors workers which makes Europe-wide information exchange and
discussions possible. The blog was established by the European
Metalworkers’ Federation (EMF) and is regarded as a premiere
this form in Europe.
have collected numerous
other interesting links.
for the works council
second, revised edition of a German - English dictionary has recently
been published. It is the result of a language project of the German
Mining, Chemical and Energy Industrial Union. It contains about 5,000
key words from the working world on subjects like work, economy, job
training, European Union, law, politics and occupational safety. The
book offers a translation of technical terms which are usually missing
from many standard language dictionaries.
Dictionary of Labour, Law and Business Terms
English - German, German - English
2007, 2. Edition, 310 pages, ISBN 3-7663-3742-4,
Saar presented a similar one, German - French, in September 2006. It is
designed to serve as a language companion in international education
and trade union work. The new glossary makes it possible to look up
technical vocabulary fast and precisely - both for conversations or
discussions and in the context of negotiations. It can be downloaded
free of charge and can be ordered from DGB Saar in print.
für die Gewerkschaftsarbeit
- Französisch, Französisch - Deutsch
2006, 100 pages, € 5,-
redundancies in Germany and England
can't be two other countries in Europe where the workers` participation
rights differ so greatly as between Germany and Britain. This thesis
attempts a legal comparison of the similarities and differences and how
EU norms on worker participation in the face of mass redundancies have
been put into practice in each particular country. Remember that
Major's conservative government suffered a sensitive defeat in
Luxembourg in front of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in 1994
because it hadn't integrated the relevant EU standards into the British
legal system comprehensively.
Information about the current legal position was published in the
country special about UK in EWC News, September 2005. The thesis is
only available in German.
bei Massenentlassungen auf Grund von
Rationalisierungsmaßnahmen in Deutschland und England
Untersuchung zur Notwendigkeit und zu Möglichkeiten einer
Modernisierung der betrieblichen Mitbestimmung, Baden-Baden 2007, 246
pages, ISBN 978-3-8329-2534-5, € 48,-
injunction for the EWC?
thesis examines the implementation of the EWC Directive under German,
Austrian and Swedish labour law. The author deals in particular with
the question of how a European works council can gain its participation
rights, using temporary injunction as well as correction and
discontinuance claim, according to each respective national labour law.
The current continuing revolution in the field of high court law, in
conformity with the Directive, is also described clearly in this work.
As the revision of the EWC Directive in Brussels is not progressing at
present, it is particularly important for the EWC to exploit all legal
possibilities already in existence. The book is only available in
Die Durchsetzung der Beteiligungsrechte
des Europäischen Betriebsrats
Umsetzung der Richtlinie 94/45/EG ins deutsche,
österreichische und schwedische Arbeitsrecht
am Main 2007, 335 pages, ISBN 978-3-631-56148-5, € 59,70
Commentaries on the German
the mean time the four antidiscrimination Directives have been
implemented in most EU countries - in Germany since August 2006. As a
subject introduced at European level, it offers European works councils
the chance to be active on the subject of equal opportunities and
antidiscrimination (see the Areva case in EWC News 4/2006). Two
commentaries have recently been published in German.
work of Schiek examines the topic from an explicitly European
perspective. It shows clearly how the EU Directives were implemented,
by means of a commentary on particular regulations of the German law
(AGG). Examples from other EU countries are also included in these
commentaries. Conveniently the corresponding Directive text is printed
below the AGG sections. Positive examples of codes of conduct are found
in the appendix.
Kommentar aus europäischer Perspektive
München 2007, 552 pages, ISBN
978-3-935808-70-5, € 89,-
and Bertzbach's commentary also goes into the European perspective. 60
opening pages describe the influence of community law on the AGG and
the history of the four EU Directives. Furthermore it also examines
discrimination bans under international law. It is a little more
practice-oriented than Schiek's work however the former is especially
convincing with its consistent European stand point.
Däubler/Martin Bertzbach (ed.)
2007, 785 pages, ISBN 3-8329-1384-7, € 89,-
and consultancy network "euro-workscouncil.net":
Examples of our work
EWC assignment on joint venture
transport federation of the Italian trade union confederation CGIL
wants to found a European works council for the Contship Italia Group.
The enterprise from Genoa is a subsidiary of Hamburg's Eurokai group
and Bremen's Eurogate. The latter is in turn a joint venture (50%, 50%)
of Eurokai and the BLG Logistics Group. The enterprises involved
operate numerous container terminals on the North
Sea coast and in Mediterranean and Atlantic areas.
possibilities of setting up an EWC in a such difficult legal situation
was the subject of an international workshop which took place in the
Croatian harbour resort, Rijeka, from 2nd to 4th February 2007. The
training and consultancy network "euro-workscouncil.net" have drawn up
a paper for discussion on this subject in collaboration with the labour
law expert, Prof Dr Ulrich Zachert of University of
of Air Traffic Control
On 1st January
(Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH) was to be privatised, according to a
decision of the German government. However the Federal President
abolished the law in October 2006 on the grounds of constitutional
considerations. Anyway the 5,300 workers of DFS are expected to be
confronted with restructurings in the context of the "Single European
Sky". DFS is currently only represented in Germany and the Netherlands.
meeting which offered works councils in air traffic control the
opportunity to examine the consequences of the coming
internationalisation, took place in Berlin from 6th to 9th February
2007. One of the subjects, prepared by the training and consultancy
network "euro-workscouncil.net" in cooperation with the company PCG
Project Consult, dealt with the legal parameters for participation in
Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France and Switzerland.
Drägerwerk AG founds EWC
European works council is to be founded for workers of
AG (about 6,500 in total). They manufacture medicine and security
equipment in Germany, UK, Netherlands, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium
and Sweden. Dräger is one of the few remaining enterprises of
size in IG Metall's coastal region without an EWC. The meeting to found
a Special Negotiation Body (SNB) took place with the support of the
training and consultancy network "euro-workscouncil.net" at the group
headquarters in Lübeck (Germany) on 26th February 2007.
EWC's imminent disintegration
has been a European works council at American Standard since 2001. It
met for its annual meeting in Brussels from 5th to 9th March 2007. The
main subject was the pending reorganisation of the group. This
questions the EWC's future existence. Before the decision of the
group's central management in USA, Dr Werner Altmeyer
and Dr Heiner Köhnen
of the training and consultancy network "euro-workscouncil.net" were
requested to organise a three-day EWC workshop. In the face of the
current developments, the contents of this workshop became rather
all three divisions were meeting for the last time. The air conditioner
division, Trane, will be kept; the brakes and vehicle regulation
systems area, Wabco, is to be put on to the stock exchange; the
division bathrooms & kitchens, Ideal Standard, sold to another
group. This means that in future the workers' representatives will find
themselves in three different European works councils once more. While
at Trane the EWC agreement with American Standard remain valid, at
Wabco a Special Negotiation Body (SNB) will be formed to negotiate a
new EWC agreement. The workers' representatives of Ideal Standard are
to be incorporated into the EWC of the enterprise that buys it,
provided that it already has an EWC.
advisers work together more closely
council advisers from Germany and France met in Paris in order to
compare their experiences on 19th and 20th March 2007. The meeting had
been called by the French consultancy company, Alpha, who also were its
host, and PCG Project Consult from Essen, Germany. The
"euro-workscouncil.net" training and consultancy network was
represented by Dr Werner Altmeyer. Consultancy organisations from the
UK, Spain and other countries will be invited to another meeting in
summer 2007. The aim is to pool consultancy competence across boarders.
Our publishing activities
Two contributions appeared in January 2007.
Under the title "European Works Councils act instead of waiting for the
legislator", Werner Altmeyer analyses some recently completed EWC
agreements in the magazine Arbeitsrecht im Betrieb.
The contribution "The representation of workers' interests in France.
Vive la France?" was published by Werner Altmeyer and Christian Dufour
in the magazine der betriebsrat. Both articles are
only available in German.
sent out a French abstract of EWC News again on 12th February 2007 and
a contribution, which deals with challenges of restructuring to
European works councils, was published in the magazine Confrontations
find a list of
additional publications in English on our publications