This training manual deals with two serious forms of obstruction that management may use to block information flows. Firstly, management may label information as ‘confidential’, thus forbidding the EWC to share this information with others (including the employees it represents or local works councils). Alternatively, management may use the specific clause in the legislation (Art. 8 of the EWC Recast Directive and its transposition into national law) that allows them not to disclose information at all, because the disclosure of this information might be harmful to the company. Management often justifies this obstruction by arguing that stock exchange rules forbid the sharing of certain information with third parties.
In practice, as the results of the recent survey among EWC members show, many EWCs experience serious problems in executing their basic legal rights and serving their purpose. In this manual, we will explain how EWCs can distinguish between management’s justified and unjustified claims, how EWCs can challenge management if they try to use these clauses in an improper way, and how EWCs can prevent this from happening again in the future.