In 2009, the Directive on European Works Councils (2009/38/EC) was revised with a view “to improve the right to information and to consultation of employees”. With this in mind, the European Works Council (EWC) was understood to be “a council established [...] with the purpose of informing and consulting employees”. This project has the same purpose and is intended to investigate the information and consultation practices of European Works Councils (EWC), the better to formalise them.Indeed, it would appear from the experiences and initiatives of the European Federation of Building and Woodworking (EFBWW) that the information and consultation processes of the transnational worker representation bodies (i.e. the EWCs) are not always able to meet the stated requirements:
The role allocated to EWCs on issues involving a minimum of two Member States (e.g. merger plans, agreement talks, reorganisation plans, etc.) is fairly restricted in the current practices of the construction and woodworking sectors.
- The interaction and complementarity between EWCs and the bodies representing workers in the Member States concerned are frequently dubious.
- Moreover, the recent economic and financial crisis has increased the need to anticipate and the necessity for information and consultation, especially in view of the restructuring performed by multinational construction groups. In this context, the EFBWW has taken several initiatives over the past years, including:
- in 2009 and 2010, sectoral seminars on the subject of best practices in the area of transnational information, consultation, participation and negotiation in EWCs;
- in 2013, further sectoral seminars with EWCs on the subject of “Anticipation of change and restructuring”.
These initiatives have shown that the practices of EWCs in the building and woodworking sectors remain very heterogeneous and that there is room for improvement. The implementation of information and consultation remains unsatisfactory and has not made any genuine headway over the past few years.
With this in mind, the EFBWW – via the project – wished to undertake the production of a practical guide for EWCs on information and consultation. The EFBWW intends to undertake a process which calls for the creation of a transnational social dialogue which can influence the strategic choices and modes of deployment of enterprises. First of all, such a process should promote the establishment of transnational information, consultation and participation mechanisms based on the application of European Union legislation on worker involvement. Secondly, the purpose of this project is to encourage the exchange of information and good practices to create favourable conditions for the creation of national information, consultation and participation bodies based on the application of EU legislation on worker involvement. Moreover, on the basis of the latest European Commission communication on “Quality Framework for anticipation of change and restructuring”1, the EFBWW wishes to address the recommendations that the social partners explore and negotiate “all possible options for avoiding
redundancies: foster EU‐wide coordination of trade unions to help EWCs; encourage EU‐level negotiations in the event of transnational restructuring; conduct negotiations on professional transition policies”.