2. Glossary of useful terms

Article 13 agreements

Art. 13 agreements (also: pre-directive agreements, voluntary agreements) – agreements setting up EWCs signed under the framework of Art. 13 of directive 94/45/EC. This article allowed worker representatives and management to conclude agreements before 22/09/1996 (entry into force of the directive) that would be exempted from the requirements of the directive. Such agreements continue to claim their status also if renegotiated after 22/09/1996.

Co-determination (Mitbestimmung)

Co-determination (Mitbestimmung) – most extensive form of workers participation in managerial decision-making processes. Co-determination goes beyond consultation, defined as expressing views on decisions taken by management, and includes active involvement in corporate decision taking, by means of negotiating with management, statutory obligation to reach consensus between management and institutionalised representation of workers (e.g. works council). Many trade unions refrain from co-determination on grounds that decision making and managing company is not the goal of trade unions as well as due to extended responsibilities towards workers that come with co-determination.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility – Corporate social responsibility (CSR, also called corporate conscience, corporate citizenship or responsible business) is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model. CSR policy functions as a self-regulatory mechanism whereby a business monitors and ensures its active compliance with the spirit of the law, ethical standards and national or international norms. With some models, a firm’s implementation of CSR goes beyond compliance and engages in “actions that appear to further some social good, beyond the interests of the firm and that which is required by law. CSR aims to embrace responsibility for corporate actions and to encourage a positive impact on the environment and stakeholders including consumers, employees, investors, communities, and others.

Follow-up meeting

Follow-up meeting – a meeting, usually only among worker representatives (i.e. without presence of representatives of management), during which the EWC members evaluate and discuss information received from management and may start preparing for the consultation phase of the process, i.e. agree on the EWC’s response (position) towards the presented information.

Preparatory meeting

Preparatory meeting – meeting, usually only among worker representatives, held by EWCs before the plenary session with management. During this meeting the EWC may exchange information, prepare questions for management, discuss its strategy, submit motions, prepare demands, etc.

Recast directive 2009/38/EC

Recast directive 2009/38/EC – directive amending certain provisions of the original EWC directive of 1994 (94/45/EC) and extending some rights of EWCs.

Select Committee

Select Committee – body elected by EWC members to ensure smooth and efficient operation of the EWC and organisation of its work (especially between annual meetings). The committee members are often responsible for tasks such as (to be defined in agreement): preparation of EWC meetings, the smooth running of meetings, ongoing contact with management (also in exceptional circumstances), distribution of information and documents from management, ensuring communication between EWC members.

Special Negotiating Body

Special Negotiating Body – a body elected by workers (national elections at subsidiary level) to negotiate with management conditions for setting up an EWC as well as to agree on arrangements (written down in form of EWC agreement) for operation of a future EWC. Once negotiations are completed and EWC agreement signed the SNB is disbanded and new election for members of the European Works Council are held.

Worker director

Worker director – A worker director or employee-elected director is a member of a company‘s board of directors or member of company’s supervisory board that is elected by the workforce of an organisation. It is often being referred to as board level employee representation (BLER). Employees have a right by law to appoint directors to companies in most European Union member states and based on some European-wide legislation on e.g. Societas Europaea (see directive 2001/86/EC).

Works council

Works council – a “shop-floor” organization representing workers, which functions as local/firm-level complement to national labour negotiations. Works councils exist with different names in a variety of related forms in a number of European countries, including Britain (Joint Consultative Committee); Germany and Austria (Betriebsrat); (Comité Mixte, Délégation du Personel); the Netherlands and Flanders in Belgium (Ondernemingsraad); France (Comité d’entreprise); Wallonia in Belgium (Délégués du Personnel); in Italy (Comitato aziendale europeo) and Spain (Comité de empresa).