From 18-20 October, 15 participants from 7 different companies in the metal, textiles and chemical sectors met in Vienna for a training organised in cooperation with the European trade union institute (ETUI).

The aim of the training course was to establish an efficient cooperation between EWC coordinators and the EWC chair/secretary.
During the training course, industriAll Europe went through its EWC guidelines for EWC coordinators and explained its vision of how EWCs can anticipate, coordinate and shape changes in multinational companies. Participants developed a comparative analysis of their agreements, in particular on the aspect of information and consultation procedures, exchanged their personal experiences and identified the specific roles of the coordinator, chair, secretary, Select Committee and other, relevant parties involved in European Works Councils.

For each company, a joint action plan was developed to improve coordination and efficiency within the EWC. 

All participating EWC members and coordinators expressed the urgent need for a stronger EWC Directive that should include:

•    More tools for the enforcement of their rights
•    Easy access to justice for EWCs
•    Real sanctions for companies which do not respect the conditions set out in the legal framework and the EWC agreements

Elfriede Schober
, Vice-President of PRO-GE, said:

“We’re going through tough times, including when it comes to collective bargaining and social dialogue. Employers are looking at cutting costs, on the back of workers, rather than improving wages and working conditions. Information and consultation are therefore more important than ever, especially for EWCs. Their rights must be urgently improved and we are convinced that the only way, given employers’ reluctance, remains through an ambitious legal initiative that sets clear rules for the compliance and enforceability of the EWC Directive.”

Isabelle Barthès, Acting Joint General Secretary of industriAll Europe, said: 

“The EWCs are a unique tool to deal with the challenges facing our workers and companies. A solid cooperation between the industriAll Europe coordinator and chair/secretary, joining the force of the trade unions with the potential of the EWC, is the key to anticipate, manage and shape those changes.”