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EWC operation and practices

Cooperation between employees and employers in multi-national companies

An EWC (European Works Council) enables the employees’ participation in decisions concerning their work. By participation in EWC operation in your company, you can receive information, international contacts and learn business thinking.

At the European level, over one thousand companies are within EWC operations, and they have altogether 15 million employees. There are more than 20,000 EWC representatives. Over 210 companies operating in Finland are within the scope of EWC operation, and 60 of them have their head office in Finland. There are more than 600 EWC representatives in Finland.

Does your company already have a European Works Council?

EWC operation based on the EU Directive is governed in Finland by the Act on Co-operation within Undertakings and the EWC Act. An EWC must be established if the company has at least 1,000 employees in the EU area and 150 employees in at least two EU or EEA countries. If your company has a European Works Council, you may as a member of YTN’s member union participate in EWC trainings and seminars.  If your company is not yet within EWC operation but meets the requirements set for the operation, you may contact Daniel Valtakari from TEK.

The initiative for launching EWC operation may come from the personnel or the management of a company. The personnel’s initiative requires a request from two different countries and the support from altogether 100 employees in these countries.

Establishment of an EWC

YTN’s member unions strongly invest in EWC operation and in senior salaried employees’ lobbying in Europe. We use influence, among other things, on the preparation of Directives and laws as well as being involved in the companies’ EWC operation.

An agreement is made on the cooperation. In it, the management and the works council negotiate the common rules. The personnel is represented in the negotiations by a Special Negotiating Body, SNB.

The works council is composed of the personnel’s representatives who have been appointed from each EU or ETA country where the company has employees. The EWC representatives have similar rights and duties as shop stewards and occupational safety representatives as set out in each country’s laws.

In a works council, the personnel are heard about matters which are happening or being planned in the company.

Study on the significance and benefits of EWC operation in companies

A study on EWC operation, its significance and costs to companies ordered by the same employer organisation was presented at a recent BusinessEurope seminar. The presentation on the study is public and worth reading. It is available here.

The end report of the seminar, “PERMEWC Final Conference Leuven, 13 May 2016: European Works Councils on the Move: Management Perspectives on the Development of a Transnational Institution for Social Dialogue” is also worth reading. It is available here.