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A new framework for European Works Councils

06/06/2011

New European Directive encourages creation of more, and more effective, European Works Councils

As from today, European Works Councils are to be established and operate within the framework of implementing provisions of new Directive 2009/38/EC.

The new rules encourage the creation of more, and more effective, European Works Councils (EWCs). They aim to:

  • favour the creation of new EWCs
  • ensure the effectiveness of employees' rights to transnational information and consultation
  • ensure legal certainty in the setting up and operation of EWCs
  • provide better interplay between national and European levels of information and consultation of employees.

European Works Councils are bodies representing the European employees of a company. Through them, workers are informed and consulted at transnational level on the progress of the business and any significant decision that could affect them.

The right to establish European Works Councils, introduced by Directive 94/45/EC, now recasted by Directive 2009/38/EC, applies to companies with 1000 or more employees, including at least 150 in two or more EU or EEA (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) countries.