Doing anything for European Works Councils

CEEartEuropean directives must not remain a dead letter and the European Commission is watching hard. For example, a report has been published to evaluate Directive 2009/38 / EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 6 May 2009 on European Works Councils. The purpose of the directive was to ensure the effectiveness of workers’ transnational information and consultation rights and to increase the proportion of established European Works Councils.


European Works Councils are bodies representing employees of large transnational corporations. Through them, company management informs and consults workers about business developments and significant decisions at European level that may affect employment or working conditions.


These bodies are necessary in a context where the functioning of the internal market induces a process of cross-border mergers, absorption, associations, and thus transnationalization of companies and groups of companies. The workers’ representatives affected by the decisions taken must be informed and consulted in order to guarantee the harmonious development of economic relations. However, prior to this directive, workers’ consultation structures were not adapted to the transnational structure of entities, and this had repercussions for workers whose treatment was likely to be unequal.


As a result of the evaluation process, a large majority of Member States have correctly transposed European legislation. But the Commission does not intend to stop there. In order for this directive to be implemented at best, the Commission announced on 14 May 2018 to make available to the social partners EUR 7 million to help implement this directive, as well as to develop a practical manual for professionals. The European added value of this directive is therefore confirmed, but the Commission wants to go further in order to speed up the creation of European Works Councils, which face a certain complexity, the absence of obligations and the lack of legal knowledge.


Nevertheless, social partners and especially the ETUC and the UAEPME must remain careful and  do everything possible to ensure the consultation and the information of the European workers.