Tomorrow, Thursday 26 November, the ETUC and European Trade Union Federations* present a petition of more than 2,665 worker representatives and trade union leaders to members of the European Parliament. The petition calls on the Commission to “start infringement proceedings where necessary” and “European governments to put forward concrete actions to ensure that workers’ information and consultation rights at work are respected”. It also calls on the European institutions to strengthen the European legal framework on democracy at work (in particular of the European Works Councils) and to implement the EU social partners’ agreement on information and consultation rights on restructuring for workers and civil servants in central government administrations by a Directive.

The European Commission should take concrete action to remind multinational companies of their obligations to consult worker representatives on any envisaged plan which could affect their working conditions, their health, their income and their jobs. The European Commission should also remind member states of their obligation to enforce workers’ rights in the wave of company restructuring processes unleashed by the pandemic. 

Job losses as a result of restructuring have doubled in the first six months of this year, according to new research by Eurofound. Too often, companies are flouting workers’ rights to information, consultation and participation in their decisions.

An inclusive recovery from the economic and social consequences of the pandemic as well as a fair transition to green and digital economies can only be successfully achieved in the full respect of workers’ rights. 

The ETUC and the European Trade Union Federations are currently running the week of mobilisation to give a voice to workers all over Europe. The European trade unions have called the European Commission and national labour ministers to ensure that information and consultation rights are upheld and to take action over breaches. The ETUC also held a workshop on litigation for European Works Councils members. 

Workers and trade union representatives from all over Europe call on EU policymakers to uphold rules on restructuring which say workers’ representatives must have: 

  • timely access to meaningful and up-to-date information on company strategy and economic performance, on jobs and working conditions.
  • enough time and resources to run an in-depth assessment of the information provided with the support of experts to work on alternatives to negative measures to redundancies.
  • the genuine opportunity to discuss those alternatives with relevant decision-makers who must provide a motivated response to the proposed alternatives.

ETUC Confederal Secretary Isabelle Schömann said: 

“Fundamental rights of information, consultation and participation cannot stop at factory and office doors. Democracy at work is crucial for working people and their families, for maintain quality jobs and shape responsible restructuring processes.”

Gabriele Bischoff, Member of the European Parliament and Rapporteur for the upcoming EP report on Democracy at Work, stated:
“There can be no European democracy without Europe-wide democracy in the workplace. Therefore it is crucial to strengthen the European legal framework on democracy at work and restructuring.”

* EFBWW, EFFAT, EPSU, ETF, IndustriAll Europe and UNI-Europa.
Text of petition
Supported by: Full list of petition signatories
Eurofound report

Contact: Andrea Husen-Bradley (press and communication), Aline Conchon (senior policy adviser)