To advocate for and amplify employer voice, HR Policy has launched an employer-led survey on European Works Councils to reflect employers’ positions on the upcoming EWC directive revision. Preliminary results show both company management and employee representatives are satisfied with current EWC laws, contrary to what unions and the European Commission have stated. Please contact Wen Dong at [email protected] to participate in the survey before it closes on October 12th.
Background: A European Works Council (EWC) is a company’s standing body that facilitates the information and consultation of employees on transnational issues. EWCs are composed of employee representatives (normally one or two) from each country in the European Union in which a business has employees. In February 2023, the European Parliament adopted a resolution – the Radtke Report – calling for potentially fundamental and profound amendments to the current legal framework on EWCs. Currently, the proposal is in its second-round of consultation with the European Commission.
Significant changes to EWCs include:
- Broadening the definition of “transnational matter”
- Employers are required to consider an EWC’s proposal
- Restricting management’s ability to classify information as “confidential”
- Shortening the negotiation period to establish an EWC from three years to 18 months
- Enforcing EWC’s legal rights by increasing sanctions
- Terminating so-called “Article 13” agreements, meaning that all EWC agreements, irrespective of their original date, are covered by the newly revised Directive.
Our HR Policy Global survey covers:
- Satisfaction with the current EWC structure
- How agreements have been made, particularly on Articles 13 and 6
- Negotiation processes
- Committee selection processes
- Meeting processes
- Employee representative facilities and training
- The impact of Covid-19 on decision-making processes
Outlook: The proposal will significantly expand EWC’s power, potentially bringing more challenges to employers’ decision-making processes. HR Policy Global will share the survey results with its European policy advocacy partners to leverage employer voice on the issue. Global members can use the data to help benchmark their own EWC operations.