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EWC bodies currently active, by sector of activity

It is evident that the rate of establishment of EWCs varies by sector. The sector of activity of multinational companies was identified as early as 2004 by Marginson and Gilman* as one of the sources of constraint on the choices made by management and employee negotiators in concluding an EWC agreement (Marginson and Gilman 2001: 95). The ETUI database of EWCs corroborates this. Historically, the highest number of EWCs has been in multinational companies in the metal sector, followed by the chemical, building & woodwork and hotels & agriculture sectors. Similarly, various branches of the service sector, when added together, have a large share of companies with EWCs. In general, traditional branches of industry, such as the metal sector – characterised by large factories, gathering large numbers of employees in one place – make it easier to organise employees and launch the establishment of EWCs. Other sectors, with smaller companies and much more dispersed workforces (e.g. transport and textiles) often find it more difficult to coordinate the establishment of EWCs. In these sectors, there are also fewer large companies which meet the requirements of Directive 94/45/EC, thereby resulting in a smaller number of EWCs.

* Gilman, M. and Marginson, P. (2004): ‘Negotiating European Works Councils. Contours of constrained choice’, in: Fitzgerald, I. and Stirling, J. European works councils: pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will?, Routledge, 2004, ISBN 0415309867, 9780415309868

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