4 June 2024

Joint employers’ statement on the revision of the European Works Council Directive

On 31st May 2024, Ceemet co-signed a joint employers’ statement on the revision of the European Works Council Directive. In this letter the signatories, CEEMET, HOTREC, EuroCommerce, EBF, ECEG, and BusinessEurope, highlight their concerns on this key legislative dossier for companies ahead of the Coreper meeting of 5 June 2024.

Among the points raised in the statement, employers insisted on the importance of having a clear definition of what should be considered as ‘transnational’. Indeed, transnational matter can only qualify as such if they have direct, immediate and severe consequences affecting employees across national boundaries.

Moreover, Ceemet and the co-signatories are of the strong opinion that EWCs that are functioning well should be protected through ensuring that possible changes for these bodies are not automatically mandatory. With regards to the voluntary EWCs agreements concluded under Article 13 of the original EWCs directive 94/45/EC – or concluded or revised during the transition period following the adoption of the recast directive 2009/38/EC from June 2009 to June 2011, their specific nature needs to be protected. Thus, the letter recalls that employers object to the deletion of Article 14 and to the removal of the exemptions from the scope of the Directive 2009/38/EC.

Additionally, the obligation of the management to provide a reasoned written response to an opinion adopted by the EWC creates an administrative burden that will not lead to improved information and consultation between the company’s management and the EWC but only lead to the hindering of the decision-making process in companies. It should continue to be up to the management and the EWC to determine the forms of communication between them.

Moreover, employers believe that the ability of management to keep information confidential without delays to the decision-making process is essential and should be therefore protected.

As regards the matter related to legal costs, the signatories are of the opinion that it should be addressed on the national level.

Finally, a revised EWC Directive should give incentives to the Member States to develop alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in order to avoid unnecessary court proceedings. Such mechanisms can include expert facilitation, practices based on the experiences of the existing mediation and conciliation structures for social partners disputes that exist in the Member States.

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