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Board-level employee representation (Participation)

The right of employees or their representatives to elect or appoint some members of a company's supervisory or administrative organ, or the right to recommend and/or oppose the appointment of some or all of the members of these boards represents the third element of the `European trias of worker involvement rights`: information, consultation and (board-level) participation.

For more information on board-level representation rights in Europe visit the following sections on our website:

Board-level representation in the European Company (SE)

Until 2004 there was no European standard of worker participation on the supervisory board or the board of directors of companies. The European Company (SE) legislation for the first time introduced a European reference for this form of worker interest representation familiar to many national corporate governance systems.

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European trade unions and board-level representation

Also among trade unions the question of board-level representation was disputed for quite some time. This dispute is, however, ended and ETUC and the European Industry Federations support the demand for an extension of board-level representation rights across Europe.

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Updated map of Board-level Employee Representation in Europe (BLER)

The ETUI has updated its map on board-level employee representation in Europe, which now provides the latest state of affairs in Europe and thresholds (in private-owned companies) entitling the workers to this form of representation of their intersts.

Interestingly, where workers have rights to elect their representatives to the board level overlaps with countries classified as having 'wide participation rights' according to the ETUI European Participation Index (2.0).

Adoption of law to reform industrial relations in France

The landmark adoption of new industrial relations legislation by the French parliament on 23 July 2015 is likely to significantly alter the industrial relations landscape and, in particular, worker representation practices in France. The new law aims to:

1) combine various hitherto separate forms of employee participation and representation bodies;

2) address the problem of excessive formalism in social dialogue;

3) introduce new rights to promote trade union involvement.

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Sara Lafuente-Hernandez
Research Officer ETUI
Tel. 0032 (0)2 2240590