European Works Councils

The so-called recast EWC Directive finally became law in May 2009, after a protracted period of negotiations between BusinessEurope and the ETUC. While the recast Directive failed to remedy a number of the weaknesses contained in the original Directive, it does strengthen the role of European Works Councils and the rights of EWC representatives. The provisions of the new Directive come into effect on 5th June 2011 and will have ramnifications for a large number of existing EWC agreements and for all future agreeemts.

ADAPT can provide EWC representatives with training and advice on a range of issues including how to co-ordinate cross border action, influence company strategy and understand financial information. In addition, ADAPT can act in the capacity of expert to the EWC itself and can guide representatives throughout restructuring or change at work. ADAPT recognises the key role EWCs play in creating greater employee solidarity and seeks to promote and support them, but we understand the barriers in doing so. In fact our research shows that EWCs find it difficult to establish cross-border co-operation in the face of employer attempts to create competition between sites by using the threat of redundancies or closure for the less efficient ones. We are currently involved in a number of European wide projects aimed at supporting trade union members upon the boards of EWCs, and are working in partnership with a number of organisations across Europe.

All of this work is aimed at improving the functioning of European Works Councils and improving employee engagement across multinational companies, which is particularly urgent given the current restructuring being undertaken as a direct response to the global financial crisis. In addition to these general projects ADAPT can offer advice and training on specific EWC related issues.