European Law Monitor

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newsA stronger voice for workers in EU-based multinational companies

 

Workers will be better represented in EU-based multinational companies thanks to new rules for the so-called European Works Councils (EWCs). These Councils ensure that employees are involved in decisions related to transnational issues, like re-structurings. They help workers anticipate and manage changes in the world of work, including labour shortages and new technologies. Around 1,000 EWCs currently represent nearly 11.3 million European employees. While these Councils represent more than half of the eligible workforce, this is still less than a third of the estimated almost 4,000 eligible companies. 

The Commission has proposed the following changes to how European Works Councils work: 

  • Giving employees equal rights to request the creation of a new EWC: exemptions will be removed, potentially allowing 5.4 million additional workers in 320 multinational companies to request the establishment of such a Council. 
  • Ensuring that workers in multinational companies are consulted in a timely and meaningful way on issues which concern them 
  • Making sure EWCs have the necessary resources to do their work
  • Putting in place terms for a gender-balanced EWC 

The proposed measures will improve transnational information and consultation, companies’ strategic decision-making, and mutual trust between management and workers. They are anticipated to come at a minimal cost for companies, with no negative impact expected on their competitiveness. 

For more information 

What are European Works Councils? 

European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan 

Press release: Commission proposes to improve European Works Councils to strengthen transnational social dialogue

An Economy that works for people 

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