Why is the existence of a European Works Council important for the enforcement of workers’ rights?
Workers have duties as well as rights. They are increasingly aware of the rights, hence the importance of having workers’ representatives in companies. There are different forms of representation, and one of them is the works council. As the world of work stands, all workers like to have someone in the company to look after them.
Do you think the existence of works councils is important?
The work of workers’ representatives is much more relevant than many people think. Having or not having these representatives has an impact on the situation of workers in companies. For example, if a worker has a complaint against the company about something that is not legal or fair, he or she should tell the committee representatives, and they will talk to the company. Also, by law, the company has to listen to them. Can a worker go to the personnel department to solve a problem? The answer is no. First of all, because they don’t listen to you, they don’t take you into account, and they won’t respond to your demands. Then the only way for an employee to solve their problems is to go to the works council. The fact that the committee raises anything always forces the employer to respond. It is another matter whether that response is the right one. Where there is trade union representation, workers have a minimum of coverage and guarantees that are met, but where there is no representation, they are defenceless.