Managing employee representation at European level is a complex and challenging process. The European Directive on the establishment of a European Works Council only gives broad principles but does not provide social partners at company level with sufficient backup on how to organise and involve the EWC efficiently on the important company topics.
This is especially true regarding three specific issues directly affecting the role of European Works Councils
- What is a transnational topic?
- How to organise the information & consultation procedure effectively?
- How to manage confidentiality in the EWC?
In this respect, with the support of the European Commission (DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion), ASTREES (France), EWC Services SBI Training en Advies & FNV Formaat (The Netherlands) and IR Share (France) carried out a project in 2015/2016 aiming at the promotion of good practises in managing European Works Councils.
The European Centre of Employers and Enterprises providing Public Services (CEEP– Brussels) and the Dutch Employers’ Organisation (AWVN) supported this project and mandated the project partners to organise three workshops. Each workshop brought together HR managers in charge of running EWCs from different countries, sectors and groups. Each event was focused on a specific theme. Finally, a final event brought together HR managers and employee reps in different EWCs to share the lessons learnt from the previous workshops.
This handbook is the outcome of this exciting project. It aims at bringing light to these difficult issues to HR managers but also employee reps at different levels (European for sure, but also national or local). We hope it will be useful to any stakeholder involved in the functioning of European Works Councils.
The project partners share a strong belief in the added value of constructive dialogue on transnational topics in a multinational company. They believe that involving employees in an early stage will lead to a better decision-making – process and create financially stronger companies.
We would like to thank all managers, employee reps and organizations for their participation in this project as well as the CEEP, the AWVN and the European Commission for their contribution to this work. Without their participation and support, this book could not have been made.
We also wish to especially thank the Solvay group which welcomed us in Lisbon for our final event in March 2016.
Finally, I’m personally grateful to Jacqueline Carlino and Laurence Danneaux (ASTREES), Petra Molenaar (SBI Formaat), Elza Novais (Solvay), Sebastian Schulze-Marmeling (ASTREES), Sjef Stoop (SBI Formaat), Frédéric Turlan (IR SHARE) and Marielle Van der Coelen (SBI Formaat) for their strong involvement in the implementation of this project.