1. EWC – basic information

The primary aim is to establish a European employee representation body for the purpose of information and consultation on transnational issues.

Another essential principle that should govern the functioning of EWCs is the principle of effectiveness introduced by the recast directive: the EWC must be able to play its role in such a way that the information and consultation process is meaningful and part of the decision-making process (recognized role of employee representatives in the anticipation and accompaniment of change in their companies).

It is also important to state that the rights of the national bodies of employee representation and of the employees shall not be affected by this Agreement. Indeed, both the European and the national levels have their role to play and neither should work at the expense of the other. On the contrary, there should be a mutual benefit from a close link and cooperation between these levels.

The Notion of Transnational Matters

Matters shall be considered transnational when they concern the group as a whole or at least two establishments of the group located in two different Member States. This is the basic definition given in the body of the EWC directive.

At the very least, this basic definition should be incorporated as is into the agreement. No changes in its wording which would weaken it should be accepted. For example, the term “concern” must not be replaced by “affect”, as this “little” change would narrow the scope of competence of the EWC.

The preamble of the EWC directive (no. 12 and 16) gives a more detailed explanation of how this notion of transnationality is to be understood. It clarifies that it is not so much the number of Member States which counts. Matters must also be considered transnational when: o they exceed the competences of the local/national Management;

  • they have a potential cross-border effect (employee representatives must be given the possibility to evaluate whether a proposed measure has a potential impact);
    • they involve transfers of activities between Member States.

These elements should be included as much as possible in the agreement. At the very least, it is not acceptable to incorporate a provision stating the reverse.