European Works Councils in Eastern Europe – Comparative Executive Summary
Alexandra Johari, Adrian Moraru, Loredana Totoliciu
Currently there are a number of 1194 European Works Councils (EWC) active in the world out of the total of 1634 ever created. 1159 of those are individual multinationals. Germany is the country with the highest number of EWCs and metal is the industry where most EWCs are formed, with public services being the least exposed to EWCs. When it was initially launched, the concept of a European work council was seen as a natural progression on the road to European integration: as the multinational corporations benefitted from the advantages of an integrated single market, so could their employees across different countries would benefit from the same high standards of remuneration and protection across the board.
The novelty of the present study is that it focuses on the implementation of EWCs in a number of Central and Eastern European countries which have been the oft-debated destination of outsourcing of services and the production of goods of multinational corporations. As such, it would be expected that there would be a lot of European Works Councils hosted in those states and that the national workers’ representatives would be extremely proactively involved in participating and organizing such meetings in order to ensure that their members who work at the same company as their Western states’ counterparts would receive the same degree of protection and remuneration. However, the reality is distinctly different due to a combination of different factors. The first is due to the requirements and limitations within the EWC Directive itself, limiting the level of participation of local entities. The second is due to the unions themselves.
This comparative executive summary was written in the project Improving the quality and level of employee representation through organizational assimilation and efficient use of the European Works Council instrument by stakeholders in industrial relations, implemented by partnership of the Institute of Public Policy (Romania) Center for Economic Development (Bulgaria), Institute of Public Affairs (Poland), Institute for Development and International Relations (Croatia) and the Center for Research and Policy-Making (North Macedonia), co-financed by the European Commission through the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion.