New EWC legislation: many countries behind
transposition in eleven countries only
delay for transposing into national legislation was very
precisely defined by the new European Works Council Directive. Each of
the 27 European Union countries as well as Norway, Iceland and
Liechtenstein had until the 5th June 2011 to revise their national
legislations. Only 11 of the 30 countries succeeded. Germany was not
able to meet the deadline either.
Forerunner was Portugal, where the new EWC
legislation came into force already in November 2009 (see report
in EWC News 4/2009).
In second place came the United Kingdom, where the former labour
government brought the new law before parliament in April 2010,
a last official act before losing the elections. It came into
force unammended as of 6th June 2011 (see report in
EWC News 1/2010). In December 2010 Austria followed,
where the best EWC act in the whole of Europe was adopted (see report
in EWC News 1/2011), and then Belgium with a
universally binding collective agreement (see report in
EWC News 1/2011).
then followed in January 2011 and in February 2011 Slovakia. Denmark
and Bulgaria adopted their new EWC legislation in March 2011 and Spain,
Sweden and Latvia in May 2011. In Malta the law came into force on 10th
June 2011 a few days late and Ireland followed on 21st July 2011.
has not yet been passed in ten countries but is in its' final
legislative stage, including Czech Republic, the Netherlands and
Romania. A further six countries are even more behind including
Hungary, Poland and Luxembourg.
Germany just two weeks late
After the new EWC legislation was passed by the
German Bundestag on 7th April 2011 (see report in
EWC News 1/2011)
it was first put on the agenda of the upper house of the German
Parliament on 27th May 2011. It therefore came into force only on 18th
June 2011 following the signature of the Federal President and its
publication in the federal legislative bulletin. The following
documents are only available in German:
The French must remain patient
new French EWC legislation will not come into force before September
2011. Only a draft bill exists for the moment. The national
assembly had authorized the government in January 2011 to make any
changes to the existing EWC legislation by decree. Despite this simpler
approach their lateness comes as a surprise, since in December 2008 the
French government was very active on a European Union-level, to push
for a rapid adoption of the new Directive (see report
in EWC News 4/2008).
Italy waits for Berlusconi
12th April 2011, after nearly one year of tough negotiations, Italian
employer associations reached an agreement with the three large trade
union confederations CGIL, CISL and UIL on a common position for the
transposition of the new EWC Directive. Back in 1996 they had also come
to a similar agreement. For the European Commission however this was
not sufficient. Under the threat of legal steps, Italy was therefore
forced, in 2002, to adopt an Italian EWC law. The new EWC Directive
also needs, therefore, to be transposed into national legislation but
this is hardly forseeable in the near future, given the current
political agenda in Italy.
First discussions in Switzerland on EWC
16th June 2011, 22 Social and Christian-democrat
MPs made a
request to the National Council, aimed at regulating the involvement of
Swiss representatives in European works councils on a legal basis. So
far Swiss representatives can only be included on a voluntary basis
within the scope of EWC agreements. In the last months events
concerning layoffs in Alstom, the mechanical engineering company, have
drawn the political debate in Switzerland over European Union worker
rights into the public eye (see report in
EWC News 3/2010).
Another request provides legal rights for the establishment of works
councils in companies with at least 100 employees. Within the European
Union the right is fixed legally starting with 50 employees and in
Germany starting with as few as five. The following documents are only
avalaible in German, French or Italian:
Croatia to implement EWC Directive
1st July 2013 Croatia will join the European Union. From that
on the EWC Directive (as well as the SE Directive) will be applicable
to this Balkan country. On this date, at the latest, all European and
SE works councils are to be extended to include representatives from
renegotiation of EWC agreements necessary?
In every second European works council renegotiation is absolutely
necessary in order to benefit from the new standards. Reason:
EU Directive excludes many companies. An article in the June issue of
the German technical magazine, “The Works Council”,
highlights this question in detail.
Workshop on renegotiation of EWC
The training and
network “euro-workscouncil.net” is offering the
to prepare for such renegotiation and for an exchange of experience in
a workshop to be held from 10th to 12th October 2011 in
Wartburg castle in Eisenach (in German language only).
Focus on EWC legal aspects
French-German works council conference in Paris
participants from Germany and France visited the French
from 29th June to 1st July 2011, for an exchange of EWC
experience and to inform themsemves about the new legal
situation. Metal and electrical industries were particularly
strongly represented, in addition to the chemical and pharmaceutical
sectors, as well as transport, banking and insurance.
the first day, two German EWC members presented how transnational
restructuring was handled in the automotive supplier Mahle
in EWC News 4/2009) and in the
heating manufacturer Vaillant (see report
in EWC News 2/2010).
Afterwards two French EWC secretaries described the recently concluded
European-wide restructuring agreements at ArcelorMittal, the steel
group (see report
in EWC News 4/2009) and at Areva, the energy group
in EWC News 1/2011).
The participants then discussed in working groups possible strategies
for European works councils to promote the conclusion of such
agreements. One of the working groups actually developed concrete steps
for the metal and electrical industries.
the second day reports on the transposition of the EWC Directive were
given by Evelyne Pichot from the European Commission in Brussels (in
center), Hanna Schelz from the German Federal Ministry of Labour in
Bonn (second from right) and Benjamin Maurice from the French Ministry
of Labour (second from left).
Particularities of certain country legislations
the European Commission qualitative differences can already be
found between certain countries. Austria has, for example, the most
extensive provisions for the right of access of the EWC to foreign
business premises. While all other countries specifically exclude the
new standards for EWC agreements concluded before 1996 and for those
amended between 2009 and 2011 (see report in
EWC News 1/2011),
Austria is, as yet, the only European Union country not to have done
this. The new definition for information and consultation is valid for
all European works councils in the alpine republic without exception,
as well as for “voluntary” agreements concluded
to analysis by the European Commission, the British EWC legislation is
the most restrictive. Whereas, in all countries EWC agreements
renegotiated after structural changes (e.g. after mergers) fall under
the provisions of the new Directive without restriction, the United
Kingdom is the only country where this is not the case. Old agreements
on European forums under British legislation are therefore able to
maintain their weak standards for ever, that is unless the employer is
ready to accept the new standards voluntarily.
Penalty Provisions under critisism in Germany
German legislator can be critisised for its' low penalties in the case
of violation of EWC rights. Even the weak British legislation increased
the maximum fine from 75,000 to 100,000 pounds. In contrast the highest
fine in Germany remains at 15,000 euros, an amount, which does not even
cover the costs of one EWC meeting. However, in some cases, German EWC
legislation does provide for terms of imprisonment.
Schelz from the Federal Ministry of Labour highlighted the importance
of early involvement of the EWC. The possibility of penalties
afterwards is not as useful for the EWC as the use of legal
possibilities already upfront. Whether German labour courts will ever
go as far as in France, where a court injunction was ruled in the case
of Gaz de France (see report
in EWC News 1/2008), has to be first proven in
Consultation in hostile
takeover in France
French Ministry of Labour is particularly sensitive when it comes to
consultation of the EWC during hostile takeovers. According to draft
legislation, central management must inform the EWC within two days of
the announcement and thereafter convene an extraordinary meeting in as
short time as possible. The Ministry of Labour will publish a circular
note describing this and other points, to accompany the changes in
judges: the EWC is to be informed first!
the debate on this question
is still controversial in the legal professional world, French judges
have again come up with an exemplary ruling with explosive
repercussions on the European level. The Paris district court ruled, on
26th April 2011, that information and consultation of the
European works council must take place prior to that of the national
legal action was taken by the central works council of the French
energy group GdF-Suez. In December 2009 the employer presented plans to
merge two service units, one of them in Belgium and the other in
France. As a consequence of the merger between Gaz de France and Suez
the 119 employees of these two units were to be combined into one
single unit. The central works council refused to give an opinion
arguing that it fell under the responsibility of the EWC. First of all
the consultation procedure with the EWC had to be concluded, and only
then could the plans be presented to the central works council. This
controversy has legal consequences, since in France the employer can
only implement its' plans once all consultation procedures have been
judges confirmed the viewpoint of the employee representatives. A
similar ruling was already taken in October 2006 for the
consumer goods group Beiersdorf, when a French court stopped the
implementation of plans until the EWC had been involved.
3. International protest and
framework agreement no
cooperation with the Alstom EWC, the European Metalworkers' Federation
(EMF) once again organized a European-wide action day on 30th
2011. Several thousand employees from 13 German locations participated.
There were also protests at two locations in Switzerland (photo). There
were also strikes and protests at Alstom plants in Belgium, France,
Italy, Spain and Poland.
the signing of a
European-wide agreement on job security on 24th February 2011
in EWC News 1/2011)
the problems have not been resolved. The EWC is demanding
protection against layoffs until 2015 and the entry into the renewable
energy business. This could prevent 3,200 job losses announced in
October 2010 in the energy division of the French company (see report in
EWC News 4/2010).
There are also conflicts over planned layoffs in railway vehicule
manufacturing, which concern especially the Salzgitter plant.
World-wide action day on companies'
the US-computer group is celebrating its' 100 years of existence. On
this occasion IBM trade union representatives called for a world-wide
action day on 14th June 2011 to demand respect towards all
employees in the company throughout the world. In Europe there were
actions in Greece, Italy, France, Belgium and Germany. Events outside
Europe took place in Australia, Argentina, India and the USA. Employee
representatives from 15 countries created a world-wide trade union
alliance for IBM on 6th May 2011, a sort of precursor for a world works
Ikea works councils members
30th June 2011 the annual plenary assembly of 300 work council members
took place at Ikea in Berlin. They represent 13,000 employees in 46
Ikea stores throughout Germany. The meeting gave unanimous support to
the election campaign for employee representation in the Ikea
production plant in Swedwood, Virginia. Resistance against this from
local US-management already led in July 2010 to a break out in Sweden
in EWC News 2/2010).
On 27th July 2011 they finally managed: 76% of the staff voted by
secret ballot for the establishment of an employee representation.
4. Work councils develop
EWC Working group created for
call and service centers
European works council of Axa, the French insurance company, would like
to regulate working conditions in all Assistance centers through a
European-wide framework agreement in the same style as the Areva
agreement (see report
in EWC News 1/2011).
A European meeting of employee representatives first took place on the
12th and 13th April 2011 at the headquarters of Axa Assistance in
Châtillon near Paris. The situation in Germany, Spain,
Portugal and France was discussed in detail.
centers are characterized by low wages, young personnel and high
turnover. Delocalization has taken place, depending on the language,
from France to Morocco and from Spain to Argentina. Axa central
management announced that it is willing in the future to hold one
meeting a year dedicated to the Axa Assistance subsidiaries, which have
altogether more than 6,000 employees.
guidelines on work-related stress
5th May 2011 in Munich an agreement was concluded between
management of the Allianz group and the SE works council aimed at
reducing the level of stress in the workplace. It defines both risk
assessment and the role of national health and safety committees and of
local management. A comparable agreement was concluded in July 2010 by
the European works council of the French luxury goods group PPR
in EWC News 3/2010).
part of the transformation of the Allianz group into a European Company
(SE), in October 2006, the participation agreement explicitly granted
the SE works council the right of initiative on topics such as e.g.
health and safety. Such provisions are present in numerous SE
agreements, but have never yet been used. The Allianz SE can therefore
be considered as a pioneer in the development of SE works council
Allianz group guidelines explicity refers to the framework agreement
between the European social partners from October 2004.
chairman of the Allianz SE works council, Rolf Zimmermann, will report
on the agreement during the seminar for European and SE works councils
on 23rd January 2012 in Hamburg.
Profit-sharing at EADS
transnational collective agreement on profit-sharing was signed on 1st
June 2011 in Paris covering all EADS employees in Germany, France,
Spain and the United Kingdom. A trade union negotiation group
(including representatives from the German group works council) and the
European works council were the contracting partners of central
management. This is the first agreement based on a procedure which was
defined in a European-wide framework agreement from September 2010
in EWC News 3/2010).
this trade union negotiation group, EADS has established a parallel
structure to the EWC, based on the French model of industrial
relations. In France works councils are only responsible for
information and consultation, while negotiations with the employer are
usually reserved for trade unions. The lack of codetermination is one
of the reasons for this division of responsibilities.
New EWC in the pharmaceutical
5th April 2011, negotiations for the establishment of a European works
council in the Japanese pharmaceutical company Takeda were successfully
completed. The signing took place on 9th May 2011 in London, shortly
before the end of the three-year negotiating period.
the chairman of the Special Negotiating Body (SNB), Manfred Lock, from
the works council in Aachen, Germany (photo), it was a special
challenge to negotiate under UK law. Since January 2009, Dr. Werner
Altmeyer from the training and consultancy network
"euro-workscouncil.net" has been acting as an adviser to the SNB
in EWC News 1/2009).
Drinks company establishes EWC
19th April 2011 an EWC agreement was signed for the mineral water
producer, San Benedetto. With 2,300 employees, the company has five
production sites in Italy, as well as plants in Spain, France, Poland
and Hungary. The headquarters is located in Scorzè in the
region. The new EWC is still subject to the old EWC legislation and may
include up to 20 members. The signing parties include representatives
from the three major Italian trade union confederations CGIL, CISL and
electric motor manufacturer establishes EWC
EWC agreement was signed on 20th May 2011 at the Angoulême
headquarters of Leroy-Somer in the West of France (photo) for its`
6,000 European employees. The employer is chairman, a
and three additional members from the employee side are elected to the
Board. The EWC meets once a year in Paris. The 17 EWC members have a
right to five days training during their four-year term of office. Six
representatives come from France and all other countries have one seat
each. Outside of France there is a large workforce in the Czech
Republic and Hungary, with nevertheless a further eight countries
having each fewer than 75 employees.
First Swedish EWC to operate
under new legislation
Ericsson the joint venture, founded in 2009 and provider of platforms
for smartphones, is to establish an EWC. On the 10th June 2011 an
agreement was signed under Swedish law, the first of its` kind since
the new EWC legislation came into force. The two parent companies have
had their own European works councils for years: the telecommunications
systems provider Ericsson since 1995 under Swedish law, and the
Franco-Italian semiconductor manufacturer ST Microelectronics since
1999 under Italian law.
3,800 employees of ST Ericsson in Europe are to be represented by 17
EWC members. Five of them are from France, four from Sweden, and one
each from a further eight countries. They elect a coordinator and a
further three members to the steering committee. The employer chairs
two annual plenary meetings. While the procedure for information and
consultation is based on the new directive, the period for the council
to establish an opinion has been limited to two or three weeks.
texts of the EWC agreements are available for download on a special
from the EWC agenda
consultation in 15 years
French supermarket chain, Carrefour, the world's second largest
retailer after Wal-Mart, with almost half a million employees
(including 120,000 in France), has carried out its first consultation
procedure since the establishment of the European works council, in
extraordinary meeting of the European works council took place on 24th
March 2011, to deal with the spin-off of business activities.
Spanish-French discount chain Dia with 3,700 stores is to be completely
sold, as well as a share of 25% of the Carrefour real estate company.
The EWC commissioned a consultant to assess the financial and economic
consequences of these plans. This was the first ever opinion in the
history of the EWC, since there was previously only information, but
Tobacco group: New EWC
agreement following merger
tobacco group, Imperial Tobacco, signed a revised EWC agreement
on 30th March 2011 under British legislation. The
company took over its` Spanish competitor Altadis in January 2008
in EWC News 4/2008).
For almost three years both European works councils continued to work
in parallel, and only now have they been merged into a single body.
16,600 employees of the merged companies are represented by 41 EWC
members. Spain has nine representatives, France six, Germany, and the
United Kingdom four, Poland three and the 15 remaining countries one
each. The select committee meets three times a year and is made up of
eight employee representatives. The EWC, established in 1996, by
Imperial Tobacco continues to operate with the status of a "voluntary
agreement" under old legislation, however, the standards of the new EWC
Directive have been largely integrated. Consultation has been limited
to six weeks (four weeks to formulate an opinion and two weeks for
central management`s response). There are provisions for a conciliation
procedure for problems with time-off for EWC members.
group to sell mineral division
31st May 2011, the European works council of Rio Tinto was consulted in
an extraordinary meeting on the planned sale of its talc activities to
Imerys, the French building materials company. After the sale two
employee representatives from Rio Tinto will temporarily be included in
the Imerys EWC: one from Austria and one from France. Imerys created
its EWC in 2001, but whose current term of office will first end in
2014. The Anglo-Australian mining group Rio Tinto has only had an EWC
since the acquisition of Alcan, the Canadian aluminium producer, after
adopting its French EWC agreement (see report in
EWC News 3/2008).
The SE legal form no longer attractive?
the transformation of German companies into the legal form of a
European Company (SE) has been on the increase over the past few years,
it now seems to be on the decline. On the 1st June 2011, there were 87
SE companies based in Germany. In the first half of 2011 there were
only five newcomers, while three companies abandoned. The
Hans-Böckler-Foundation speaks of a "market saturation" for
half of all European Companies have their headquarters in Germany. One
of the reasons for this is the German codetermination. In the course of
the transformation of a German company into an SE, it is possible for
the company to either reduce the membership of a parity-based
supervisory board, to avoid an imminent increase in membership or to
“freeze“ for ever the membership to one third. Such
are relatively often observed in practice. The following documents are
available only in German:
abandons SE status
28th January 2011, Fresenius, the healthcare company has been trading
under the German legal form of KG. Although the SE legal form is still
in existence, all of the shares have been transfered to the new
company. The SE works council has also been dissolved. Its` role has
now been taken on by a "normal" European works council that existed
already before the SE transformation (see report in
EWC News 2/2007).
order to avoid the extension of the supervisory board to 20 members,
according to the German Codetermination Act, a merger was carried out
with an employee-free Dutch company. The 12 member supervisory board
has six employee representatives (four from Germany, one each from
Austria and Italy). The election of representatives to the new
supervisory board was one of the last tasks of the SE works council. In
the end, nothing has in fact changed in the composition of the employee
use of the EU merger Directive to enable a freezing of the supervisory
board is still very rarely seen in practice. One of the first examples
was in February 2010 for the food manufacturer Apetito (see report in
EWC News 3/2010).
SE transformations target against codetermination
a manufacturer of systems for the semiconductor industry from
Herzogenrath, has been trading since 22nd December 2010 as a SE. By
these means, the management of the expanding technology group could
ensure that the supervisory board will remain in the future free of
participation. With 450 employees in Germany and without transformation
to a SE employee representatives would soon have had to be appointed to
the supervisory board. Representatives in the special negotiation body
came from Britain, Germany and Sweden.
With just under
the threshold of 2,000 employees, the wind power plant manufactuerer REpower Systems
from Hamburg decided against parity-based participation. Since the 15th
June 2011, it has been operating as a SE and was therefore able to
freeze employee participation in the supervisory board to one third.
New, however, is the establishment of an SE works council.
goods manufacturer selects one-tier model
separation of executive and supervisory boards now belongs to the past
for Puma. The SE was registered on 25th July 2011, with a Board of
Directors where three of the nine members are employee representatives
(two from Germany and one from France). The employer side is mainly
occupied by the French, since the former family concern has been
majority owned by PPR, a French commercial and luxury goods group,
one-tier model is based on the French form of corporate governance,
according to which the chairman of the Board of Directors has special
powers and executive directors have fewer rights than on a German
management board. The probable 30 members of the new SE works council
come from 26 countries. At the same time, the PPR European works
council (see report in
EWC News 4/2008), established in 1999, remains in
8. Highlights from
individual EU countries
collective agreement against social dumping
1st March 2011 a new sectorial collective agreement comes into force in
Denmark, prohibiting social dumping. The small and medium-sized
companies of the construction and woodworking industries have committed
themselves to only award subcontracted work to companies which are
subject to a Danish collective agreement. The minimum wage in this
sector was increased to 112,85 Danish Crowns (15,15 euros) and all
employers are to contribute immediately into a fund to finance measures
against social dumping. The collective bargaining parties have thus
proven that they are able to resolve problems independently and do not
need to rely on the legislator.
new collective agreement aimed at preventing the unprecedented conflict
that occured, 2004, in Sweden. At that time, Laval, a Latvian company,
was building schools in Vaxholm in the vicinity of Stockholm and paid
its` Latvian employees Latvian wages. Because Laval refused to comply
with the Swedish sectorial collective agreement, Swedish trade unions
organised industrial and boycott actions. The subsequent legal dispute
went as far as the European Court of Justice which ruled in December
2007 against the Swedish trade unions (see report in
EWC News 4/2007).
Improved protection from dismissal for Polish
26th May 2011 the parliament in Warsaw adopted an addendum to the
Labour Code which substantially strengthens protection from dismissal
for trade union representatives. Like pregnant women, they have now
become practically undismissable. The new ruling is based on a judgment
of the Polish Constitutional Court of 12th July 2010, which considers
the previously inadequate protection from dismissal as a violation of
union freedom, guaranteed by the constitution.
plaintiff was a member of the Solidarność trade union who was
dismissed, without notice, after he had informed his employer of the
establishment of a trade union section within the company. The change
to the Polish Works Council Act which came into effect in July 2009,
was also based on a decision of the Constitutional Court
in EWC News 3/2009).
Caterer recognizes trade unions as collective
30th June 2011 the French company Sodexo signed a recognition
agreement with the three largest British trade unions, Unite, Unison
and GMB. It defines guidelines for cooperation between local management
and employee representatives. Sodexo has 43,000 employees in the United
Kingdom with 2,300 locations in public catering as well as in
facilities management for companies, educational institutions,
government agencies and hospitals.
this framework agreement, local trade unions would have had to fight
individually for their recognition. British employers rarely grant such
generalised recognition for the entire workforce. As an
Vodafone accepted a collective bargaining representation in October
2007 for only 500 of its` 11,600 British employees (see report in
EWC News 3/2007).
framework agreement is the result of a coordinated campaign of trade
unions from six countries: in addition to the British, trade unions
from France, the United States and Turkey demanded the right to free
trade-union activity around the world. In September 2010, Sodexo came
under critiscm from a human rights organization for violation of
international labour standards in the United States (see report in
EWC News 3/2010). There has been a European works
council in the company since 1998, under French law.
works council conference is being organised from 27th to 28th October
2011 in London to give an opportunity to those wishing to learn the
specifics of employee representation in the United Kingdom and the
importance of a recognition agreement.
9. The view
aluminium producer strengthens social dialogue
March 2011 Norwegian chemical industry unions and the International
federation of chemical trade unions ICEM signed a framework agreement
with the central management of Norsk Hydo in Oslo, which guarantees
minimum standards for 23,000 employees in 40 countries.
weeks later, two Norwegian employee representatives on the supervisory
board traveled to Brazil, to provide information on social dialogue and
the new framework agreement. Norsk Hydro has recently bought several
Employee representatives agree on world-wide action
plan for Caterpillar
trade union network for the US construction equipment manufacturer met
on the 30th and 31st March 2011 in Chicago. 30 representatives from
Belgium, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States
agreed on an action plan. The network, including also Japan and
Australia, was first established in 2010. Four members of the steering
committee are nominated by the European works council, which was
established in 1996 under Belgian law.
headlines again for Deutsche Telekom
12th July 2011 several trade unions filed an official complaint to the
OECD against Deutsche Telekom for the violation of good corporate
governance principles. It lists anti-union activities in the United
States and Montenegro. As OECD Member States, Germany and the United
States have a political and legal responsibility to ensure that these
principles are upheld.
accuse central management of double standards when it comes to social
responsibility. Deutsche Telekom came under critisicm of a human rights
organization in September 2010, because of violations of
international labour standards in the United States (see report in
EWC News 3/2010).
OECD with new guidelines
few days earlier, on 25th May 2011, the OECD adopted a revised version
of its guidelines for responsible business conduct in a global context.
What is new is the due diligence of companies for the social situation
in the supply chain.
Video on new EWC legislation
European Commission has released a video which explains, in three
languages, the tasks and practical work of European works councils just
in time for the entry into force of the new EWC legislation. A teaser
gives a taste for the actual video movie which lasts more than six
video on the reasons for an EWC
trade unionists have produced a video that explains the reasons why a
European works council is useful for employees in the new and old EU
countries. The animated film is available in Hungarian with English
New Internet blog from
celebrate the 110 years existence of FIOM, the metalworkers federation
of the largest Italian confederation, CGIL, launched on the
June 2011 the FiomNetWork, a communication blog on the
The contents are available on Facebook and Twitter.
TUC newsletter for
British Trade Union Congress (TUC) started in January 2011 to highlight
the rights of precarious workers through a newsletter. The title of the
first issue is "Enforcing minimum workplace rights".
have compiled many more interesting links into a collection
inside European Works Councils – case studies
216 page-research work which was published in March 2011, presents the
role and influencing power that European works councils have on company
management policy. It is based on empirical analysis carried out at the
University of Linz, Austria, which examines also the internal operation
of the EWC work. Focus was put on European works councils from food
processing, construction, paper production, the steel and automotive
industries and the pharmaceutical industry. A separate chapter deals
with trade union support for European works councils, characterized by
growing resource issues and engagement of external consultants. The
book is only available in German.
conditions for posted workers
1st May 2011, there is complete freedom of movement on the labour
market within the European internal market between Western
Eastern Europe. Only Romania and Bulgaria must wait until 2013 for the
last restrictions to fall. In this newly released study, the University
of Amsterdam has analyzed the living and working conditions of posted
workers, the legal aspects of posting regulations as well as their
practical application in 12 countries. A detailed evaluation was also
presented by the Friedrich-Ebert Foundation in September
report of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)
12th Congress of the ETUC was held in Athens from 16th to
May 2011 under the motto "Mobilising for a Social Europe". The General
Secretary presented a comprehensive 112 page-report covering the past
four years, and presenting the results of social dialogue at EU level,
a chapter dedicated to European works councils and on the employee
participation in the SE. For the coming years, the "Athens manifesto"
was adopted, setting out the twenty most important priorities.
Years of European Metalworkers Federation (EMF)
June 2011 in Brussels, on the occasion of its 40th anniversary, the EMF
released a 33 page book highlighting its history since its creation in
1971. The book is the result of a Hans Böckler Foundation
project. The authors from the Free University of Berlin present the
different fields of activity where the Federation is active and provide
an insight for the future. The book is available in German, English and
We have put together further technical literature
on a literature
12. Training and consultancy
of our work
Seminar for European and SE
works councils at
the 6th to 9th June 2011, works council members from 15 companies
(three in the SE legal form) came to Montabaur, to get up to date
information on the new German EWC legislation and to learn how to deal
with transnational restructuring. Most of the participants came from
the metal, electrical and IT industries, but the chemical,
pharmaceutical and banking industries were also represented. The EWC
initiation day for works councils members that still have to establish
an EWC took place in parallel.
restructuring seminar focused on the manner in which information and
consultation is handled in French companies. Since the basic philosophy
of the EWC Directive is strongly inspired by French industrial
relations, German works council members need to see through a pair of
"French glasses", to strategically develop their EWC or SE
council. The event will be available again in spring 2012.
anticipates already new EWC legislation
British Dutch steel group Corus (see report
in EWC News 4/2009)
sold its aluminum division in 2006 to the US group Aleris, who
subsequently established its` own EWC in Koblenz.
come from the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium and Norway. The EWC
agreement, signed in May 2007, is subject to German law, and has
remained unchanged since then. For this reason, the new German EWC
legislation is directly applicable to Aleris.
the support of training and consultancy network
“euro-workscouncil.net“ a proactive communication
for the EWC was discussed during the plenary meeting of the EWC held
from 11th to 13th April 2011 in Waldburg, Germany. The use of the new
German EWC legislation led directly after the meeting to the
addition of one British representative to the steering committee, even
before the revision of the EWC agreement or the coming into force of
the new legislation.
Automotive supplier to close
23rd June 2011, central management of the US group Visteon announced
the closure of its` El Puerto de Santa María plant in
(photo) with around 400 employees. The EWC was informed in an
extraordinary meeting on 12th July 2011 at the European headquarters in
Kerpen near Cologne. Visteon falls already fully under the new EWC
German legislation, even though negotiations on a new EWC agreement
have not yet been concluded (see report in
EWC News 1/2011).
EWC to use new legal situation for intensive
training and consultancy network "euro-workscouncil.net" has been
commissioned as a consultant by the EWC for the information and
consultation procedure and has for this purpose put together a
German-Spanish team of consultants. Dr. Werner Altmeyer was already
appointed as expert for the revision of the EWC agreement in March 2011.
Final report of the REDITER
final report of the REDITER project was presented in Paris on 4th April
2011. In this project, five seminars were held in the course of 2010 in
five different countries, to give information on the impact of the new
EWC Directive (see report in
EWC News 3/2010).
Most of the 160 participants came from companies in the service
industry. The project was carried out with partners from five countries
on behalf of the confederation of service sector trade unions (UNI
Europe). The German partner was the training and consultancy network
Current seminar schedule
training and consultancy network "euro-workscouncil.net" has been
organizing and delivering conferences and training seminars for the
members of European works councils, SE works councils and special
negotiation bodies since January 2009. So far 253 employee
representatives from 121 companies have taken part (representing about
12% of all companies in Europe with an established EWC). The majority
of participants came from Germany and France, but a further nine
countries were represented. Following is an overview of the planned
works council seminar in Brussels
German-Belgian seminar for works council members will be held on 29th
and 30th September 2011 in Brussels. More than 100 European works
councils operate under Belgian law. Belgium therefore stands
numerically in fourth place behind Germany, France and the UK.
Participants will be able to familiarize themselves during the seminar
with the legal situation in Belgium and the Belgian system of employee
representation. Simultaneous interpretation will be provided for the
of EWC agreements
the coming into force of the new EWC legislation it is advisable in
many companies to renegotiate the EWC agreement. To this end we are
offering a workshop to enable an exchange of experience and to make a
critical analysis of participant’s EWC agreements. The
will be held from 10th to 12th October 2011 in Wartburg castle in
Eisenach (photo) in German language only.
conference in London
German-British works council conference will be held on 27th and 28th
October 2011. It is aimed at all members of European works councils,
who are subject to UK law, as well as to employee representatives
wishing to familiarize themselves with the British system.
Participation is not limited to Germany and the UK, simultaneous
interpretation will be provided for the event.
English language courses for
works council members
– 18.11.2011 in
Esher Place (near London)
Hamburg Conference for European
and SE works councils
every year, a two-day
conference will be again held in Hamburg. The topics:
Monday, 23rd January 2012:
Beyond information and consultation – developing EWC and SE
council into negotiating partners for central management
24th January 2012:
Employee representation in Central and Eastern Europe
Both modules may be
booked separately or together. The program is
currently in preparation. Interpretation for the conference is provided
in three languages (German, English and French).
Seminars of the Institute for
Further Education of
Works Councils (ifb)
Since 1998 the ifb has been
offering EWC seminars which were developed in conjunction with the
training and consultancy network "euro-workscouncil.net". The seminars
are held in German language only.
Basic seminar: The European Works Council from A to
– 11.11.2011 in Munich
Advanced seminar and idea exchange
– 25.11.2011 in Stuttgart
Workshop for SE works
2011 the training and consultancy network "euro-workscouncil.net" will
be organising another SE workshop. Since the number of SE works
councils is still relatively small, the next date will be coordinated
with any interested participants by telephone. Anybody interested
should please fill in and return the following questionnaire.
Please find a survey of
possible subjects of in-house events here:
News is published by:
and consultancy network "euro-betriebsrat.de" GbR
collaborating on this
Werner Altmeyer, Sandro Maier, Bernhard Stelzl
of the German
version: 15,648 readers
the English version: 2,157 readers
the French version: 2,322 readers
We are always pleased to
receive comments and suggestions in relation to this newsletter as well
as reports on your EWC activities. Please write us at: email@example.com