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Chronology of Recast - Key docs

Chronological overview of (selected) stages of the EWC revision process

Date

Overview of the revision process of EWC directive

Document

2011

5.6.2011: Transposition deadline for member states

 

2009

16 May 2009: Official announcement of the new recast directive 2009/38/EC

Official Journal

2009

28 July 2009: Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on the ‘Proposal for a European Parliament and Council Directive on the establishment of a European Works Council or a procedure in Community-scale undertakings and Community-scale groups of undertakings for the purposes of informing and consulting employees’
COM(2008) 419 final — 2008/0141 (COD)
(2009/C 175/21)

Official Journal

2009

23 April 2009: the EU Council of Ministers approves the text of the recast Directive

 

2008

December

Dec 2008: European Parliament adopts the report by Philip Bushill-Matthews on the plenary set to vote on the text (C6-0258/2008).

Link to European Parliament's website with texts of documents adopted

2008

November

The Employment and Social Affairs Committee of the European Parliament adopts amendments to the report by rapporteur Philip Bushill-Matthews (EPP-ED, UK).

2008

October

PRESS RELEASE:of the European Parliament 2893rd Council meeting Employment, social policy, health and consumer affairs Luxembourg, 2 October 2008

PRES-08-271_EN.pdf 213,75 kB

2008

October

Joint Advice by the Social Partners on the EWC "recast" directive concerning Art. 13 agreements.

2008

September

The Council's progress report on EWC recast, of 26-09-2008

2008

September

The European Parliament: Adoption of a Draft Report on on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council
on the establishment of a European Works Council (recast)

Committee on Employment and Social Affairs
Rapporteur: Philip Bushill-Matthews

(Recast – Rule 80a of the Rules of Procedure)

2008

September

Consultation document of the British Government concerning the revision of the EWC directive (Department for Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform).

2008

September

Revision of the EWC Directive as one of the points of the ETUC Memorandum for French Presidency of 01/09/2008

2008

August

JOINT ADVICE BY THE SOCIAL PARTNERS ON THE EUROPEAN WORKS COUNCIL “RECAST” DIRECTIVE. Proposals on the issues considered in the joint advice to European Parliament and Council of Ministers.

Compromise between BusinessEurope and ETUC achieved in July/August 2008 on selected issues concerning the EWC revision/recast.

2008

July

The European Commission presents a "Citizens' summary" concerning the recast of the EWC directive.

2008

July

European Commission officially announces (02/07/2008) Proposal for a European Parliament and Council Directive on EWCs (EWC directive revision)

.

2008

June

European Commission announces results of impact assessment concerning revision of the EWC directive

.

2008

June

Letter of Business Europe Secretary General, Philippe de Buck, to EU Commissioners' Heads of Cabinets on EWCs (30.06.2008)

2008

June

ETUC Memorandum to French Presidency in the EU, 2008

ETUC Memorandum (for EWCs see page 6)

2008

June

ETUC Conference: 'On the offensive for stronger EWCs', 9-10. June 2008

More than 300 participants: EWC members, EWC experts, policy makers, trade unions, representatives of EU institutions (Commission, MEP, EESC)

ETUC Deputy Secretary's, Reiner Hoffmann's speech (DE)

2008

April

ETUC's press release on inclusion of the revision of the EWC directive into social package

Press release

2008

April

European Federation of Food, Turism and Agriculture Trade Unions (EFFAT) statement on the ETUC's response to the Commission's Communication opening the 2nd stage of consultation on the revision

EFFAT's statement

2008

April

ÖGB (Austrian Trade Unions Confederation) press release about the revision

ÖGB press release

2008

April

ETUC's response of 11.04.2008 to the opening of the 2nd stage of consultation on the revision of EWC directive

ETUC's press release

ETUC response

2008

April

ETUC's press release of 03.04.2008 regarding opening of the 2nd stage of consultation with social partners

ETUC's press release

2008

April

Business Europe replies to the Commission's Communication on the opening of the 2nd stage of consultations

2008

March

Position paper by two members of the German Parliament (Bundestag), Dr. M. Schwanholz (SPD) and J. Juratovic (SPD), on the revision of the EWC directive

(German version only)

2008

February

The European Commission appointed a British company GHK to carry out an impact assessment study in some 80 largest multinational companies with an EWC

 

2008

February

EU Commission communication opening 2nd stage of consultations:

"Consultation of the European social partners on the revision of Council Directive 94/45/EC of 22 September 1994 on the establishment of a European Works Council or a procedure in Community-scale undertakings and Community-scale groups of undertakings for the purposes of informing and consulting employees"

IP-08-265_EN.pdf 86,84 kB

2007

December

Resolution of the European Parliament on the Commission's Work Programme 2008

2007

December

ETUC Executive Committee

Brussels , 5-6/12/2007

2007

October

Announcement of the Commission's Work Programme for 2008:

COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS

Commission Legislative and Work Programme 2008

- for EWC directive revision see p. 25

2007

May

Revision of the EWC directive in the ETUC's Sevilla Manifesto adopted on the 11th ETUC Congress in Sevilla, Spain

Sevilla Manifesto (various language versions)

2007

May

European Parliament resolution of 10 May 2007 on strengthening European legislation in the field of information and consultation of workers (PE 389.460)

2006

December

ETUC letter to the members of the European Parliament on the revision of the EWC directive of 14/12/2006

Letter to MEPs of 14/12/2006

2006

December

Letter of Kodak EWC to Commissioner Spidla regarding the revision of EWC directive

(DE version only)

2006

November

Technical revision of the EWC directive adjusting the number of members of Special Negotiating Bodies to the new situation after EU enlargement in 2007

Technical revision 2006/109/EC

2006

November

Letter of the President of the German IG-Metal, Berthold Huber to members of EWCs concerning the revision of EWC Directive

(DE version only)

2006

September

EESC adopts a Position on EWCs: SOC/220 “European Works Councils: a new role in promoting European integration”

English version

Deutsche Version

Version française

2006

July

Position Paper of the Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund (DGB, German Trade Union Confederation) of 31/07/2006 on the revision of the EWC directive (DE version)

2006

March

European Parliament resolution on restructuring and employment (2005/2188(INI)) having regard to the Commission Communication of 31 March 2005, entitled 'Restructuring and employment: Anticipating and accompanying restructuring in order to develop employment: the role of the European Union' (COM(2005)0120) and the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 14 December 2005 (CESE 1495/2005),

Debate in the European Parliament on the revision of the Directive 94/45/EC, session in Strasbourg 14/03/2006

2006

June

Siemens EWC urges the European Commission to revise the EWC directive

2005

March

(Claimed) opening of the second stage of the public consultation on EWCs by the European Commission (for proper opening of 2nd stage of consultation with social partners see above: February 2008)

2005

February

European Commission adopts the Social Agenda 2005–2010; EWC directive revision as one of the targets (p. 6)

2005

January

EWC directive revision as a part of the Trade Union Memorandum to the Luxembourg Presidency of the EU – press release (point 7)

Trade Union Memorandum to the Luxembourg Presidency of the EU – press release

2005

January

ETUC calls for the relaunch of the revision

ETUC press release

2004

October

Joint seminar of European Social Partners (UNICE, ETUC, CEEP) on the functioning of EWCs and its results

2004

July

EWC directive revision as a part of the ETUC’s memorandum to the Dutch Presidency of the EU of 16/07/2004 – press release

Trade Unions memorandum to the Dutch Presidency of the EU of 16/07/2004 – press release

2004

June

Position of the European Federation of Journalists concerning the revision of the EWC directive

2004

June

ETUC Conference ‘EWCs – in Europe and Beyond’ held in Barcelona to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the EWC Directive

ETUC calls to step up pace of EWC directive revision – press release

2004

June

UNICE response to European Commission’s communication

UNICE’s answer – main points

  • Strongly opposes the revision –social dialogue shall take place as previously;
  • Social dialogue shall take place at company level
  • The procedures for information and consultation are beginning to prove valuable; however, they are showing difficulties and the complexity of ensuring dialogue at transnational level
  • Difficulties with finding a proper division of tasks between the EWC and other forms of social dialogue at the national level
  • The EC focuses too much on the role of the EWC in restructuring situations
  • The challenge of EU enlargement is more important than the challenge of a changed economic context. One needs to successfully implement existing practices in the 10 NMS before changing the EWC Directive
  • Legislative intervention on the part of the EC will be counter-productive – the social partners should gradually develop the practice of EWCs

Thus the only actions should comprise:

  • Monitoring implementation of the EWC Directive in the NMS
  • Exchanging information and learning from experience to facilitate better implementation of the Directive

2004

May

Position of the German BDA, Association of Employers (Bundesvereinigung der Arbeitgeber)

     

2004

May

EU Enlargement by 10 new EU Member States and the resulting widening of the scope of the EWC Directive

 

2004

April

ETUC’s official response of 19.05.2004 to the European Commission’s opening of the first stage of consultation on the revision of the EWC Directive

ETUC press release 23/04/2004

2004

April

On 19.04.2004 the EU Commission, in line with Art. 138 of the European Community Treaty (ECT), begins the 1st stage of consultation with the European social partners on the possible revision of the Directive

EC Press release

EC Press info

2004

February

EWC Directive Revision among the priorities of ETUC for 2004

p. 32, p. 45, p. 66

2004

January

Trade Union Memorandum to the Irish Presidency of the EU – press release

Trade Union Memorandum

2003

December

ETUC adopts a resolution in regard to the revision of the EWC Directive

“ETUC strategy in view of the revision of the European Work Councils Directive”

2003

December

EWC revision amongst most important points on ETUC's agenda

see p. 9 and p. 21

2003

September

European Economic and Social Committee publishes Exploratory Opinion on the Directive

2002

November

Announcement of the European Commission (Fernando Vasquez DG Employment and Social Affairs) that the review process will be initiated in Autumn 2003

“ETUC strategy in view of the revision of the European Work Councils Directive”

2001

September

Resolution of the European Parliament:

  • The main goal of the EWC Directive is to lift obstacles to information, consultation and communication with employees to foster social dialogue in companies.
  • There is a need to balance the competitive needs of companies in an ever changing market with workers’ rights to information and consultation. The need for social dialogue with employees is stronger than ever.
  • Dialogue is hard to achieve if 85% of EWCs meet only once a year.
  • After identifying these drawbacks the European Parliament (EP) called on the European Commission to submit a proposal with:
    • A precise definition of information and consultation
    • The introduction of an enhanced consultation procedure
    • A reduction of the limit for negotiations from 3 years to 18 months
    • An enhanced obligation to convene extraordinary EWC sessions in cases of restructuring
    • Reduction in thresholds from 1000 for the whole company to 500; and from 150 in each MS to 100
    • More rights for participation of TUs (experts, advisors) and a more prominent role for EIFs
    • More training rights for EWC members
    • Better access to resources and facilities for EWCs
    • Sanctions to ensure effective procedures for seeking legal remedies in case of breach of the EWC agreement
    • A higher number of obligatory annual meetings and of preparatory sessions
    • A solution for mergers and joint ventures : before two companies merge it is often the case that both are dissolved è workers have no right to be informed about the restructuring at these crucial moments since no EWC can legally exist in these circumstances

The EP also called for inclusion of the right to workers’ participation in the company (as compared to passive reception of information and consultation only)

2000

September

Implementation report from the European Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on application of the Directive on the establishment of a European Works Council or a procedure in Community-scale undertakings and Community-scale groups of undertakings for the purpose of informing and consulting employees (Council Directive 94/45/EC of 22 September 1994)

1999

December

In reaction to the lack of legislative action by the EC the European Trade Union Confederation issued a position in 1999 which stressed that:

  • information and consultation should take place sufficiently in advance (in the wake of the Renault Vilvoorde case of 1997)
  • in terms of quality of information it must be complete enough and sufficiently comprehensive to give an overview of company’s condition at a given point in time
  • serious problems arise from the practice of EWCs that need to be addressed:
    • workers’ representatives in EWCs are not consulted but simply presented with a fait accompli, which refers especially to poor info about restructuring measures (EWCs obtain it mainly from the press)
    • management sees EWCs merely as a voting machine to legitimise its decisions
    • refusal to undertake negotiations by management is often a hindrance
  • representatives of European Industry Federations (EIFs) should be included in Special Negotiating Bodies
  • thresholds (of employees) governing the application of the EWC directive should be lowered
  • in cases where the Directive is not respected sanctions should be foreseen

1999,

28-30 April

Conference “European works councils: practice and development” organised in Brussels by the social partners (ETUC, UNICE and CEEP), with the support of the European Commission

 

1999

September

Deadline for revision of EWC directive (Art. 15)

Art. 15 of Directive 94/45/EC (henceforth EWC Directive) contains a self imposed obligation on the part of the EU legislator to revise the directive 3 years after its transposition into the national law of the EU Member States:

“Not later than 22 September 1999 the Commission shall , in consultation with the Member States and with management and labour at European level, review its operation and, in particular examine whether the workforce size thresholds are appropriate with a view to proposing suitable amendments to the Council, where necessary.”

The term “review” refers to “the operation of the Directive, that is all issues related to the establishment and operation” of EWCs. To date this deadline has not been met by the European Commission (EC).

European Commission’s website

Last update 23/08/2012

Brief overview on the revision process

In art. 15 of the EWC Directive (94/45/EC) the European Commission bound itself to pursue a review of the directive by 1999. In April 2004, almost five years after the deadline set out in the Directive itself, the European Commission officially started the review of the European Works Council (EWC) Directive. In its communication, the Commission emphasised the positive contribution that EWCs have made, particularly in dealing with structural changes.

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