This publication, that consists of unique survey data, gives an insight into the functioning of European Works councils (EWC) from the perspective of employee representatives. It presents the results of the largest survey of EWC representatives conducted to date. The survey documents the opinions on a wide range of topics of more than 1,600 employee representatives from all EU countries representing over 300 different EWCs and provides a graphical overview of some of the main results of the survey.
Many employee representatives in multinational companies lack basic information about corporate plans, restructuring and workplaces, and lack a dialogue with central management. Employees are left in the dark about financial and economic performance, the situation in other countries and what their own future is going to be. To counter this, and to guarantee the fundamental right of employees to be informed and consulted about things going on in their company, the European Union adopted legislation in 1994 on European Works Councils (EWCs) and, in 2001, on works councils in European Companies (SE works councils). EWCs and SEWCs provide a formal forum for social dialogue at (transnational) company level: they bring together employee representatives from different countries with the central management of a multinational company. Furthermore, they allow for employees to be informed and consulted about transnational issues in the company and, in turn, to influence corporate decision-making via the consultation process.
In this publication, we review survey evidence to answer such questions as: how are EWC performing? Are employees really informed and consulted? Do they get sufficient training? What can improve the functioning of EWCs? And are there any (positive or negative) evolutions over time?