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The economic crisis and the EWC Dr. Werner Altmeyer Sibiu, 07.10.2010.

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Presentation on theme: "The economic crisis and the EWC Dr. Werner Altmeyer Sibiu, 07.10.2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 The economic crisis and the EWC Dr. Werner Altmeyer Sibiu,

2 Agenda 1. Problems during crisis 2. Some figures: Multinationals with EWC 3. EWC Intercultural Experiences 4. Information and Consultation provision to the EWC 5. EWC in Practice 6. Examples of transnational agreements

3 Problems during crisis Accelerated transnational restructuring, mergers and acquisitions How to safeguarde employment and skills? How to safeguarde sites and branch offices? The reality: 50% of all European works councils are not consulted before a transnational restructuring decision is made public What is „consultation“ about? How strong is the link between national and European works councils?

4 Multinationals with EWC EWC Directive 1994 EU Directive 1996 national laws 1999 Art. 15  Revision 2004 initiative 2009 new EU Directive 2011 new national laws Art.13 Art ~ 2.300

5 Delegates from new Member states 961 EWC bodies currently active, more than 20,000 delegates 209 EWC bodies including one or more representatives from a new EU member state (2004) 41 EWC bodies including one or more representatives from a new EU member state (2007) - Bulgaria and Romania 24 EWC bodies including one or more representatives from EU applicant countries (Croatia, Macedonia, Turkey) Data source: European Trade Union Institute, EWC database, July 2010

6 A “ typical “ EWC today 23 members, increasing number from 9 countries, one third from host country 5 management representatives involved Select committee of 5 members 2 plenary meetings a year (ordinary + extraordinary) over two days 3 select committee one–day meetings a year 3 out of 10 EWCs have mixed working groups on specific issues Source: Evelyne Pichot, European Commission

7 EWC Intercultural Experiences Betriebsrat + Gewerkschaften Works council + trade unions Comité d´entreprise + syndicats Betriebsrat Works council Comité d´entreprise Gewerkschaften Trade unions Syndicats

8 Mediterranean model „Germanic“ model Anglo-Saxon model Transformation model Scandinavian model

9 Alcatel-Lucent December 2006: merger Alcatel (F) and Lucent Technologies (USA) Consequence: 12,500 jobs are on the list of cuts March 2007: European protest day April 2007: French jugdes draw up criterias November 2009: Day of action in six European countries. Some support was also given from US employees. Since the merger of the two former companies in December 2006, four restructuring programmes have been carried out up to now and thousands of jobs dismantled.

10 Alcatel-Lucent The employer must present to the EWC the following: a precise, figured report on the reasons for closure, shift and merger of business activities a precise, figured exposition of the calculation method and the elements which were used for the calculation of the alleged staff overhang the number of planned job cuts, and to be more precise for every division and for every country, separated into employee categories exact and figured grounds for this distribution and the time schedule for the planned downsizing This information must be „complete and precise enough, to explain the development of the employment on an European level to the EWC and to allow for an exchange of views and dialog with the management in view of full knowledge of the facts“.

11 Gaz de France November 2006: EWC stops the merger with the Suez group by interim injunction January 2008: the highest French court confirms the decision → Supervisory and administrative boards of multinational companies can not decide to merge with other companies until the consultation of the EWC has taken place in due form and wasn't completed correctly in all details. A financial analysis is also part of the procedure by consultancy firms which the EWC selects itself. The judges give an independent participation right to the EWC, independently of participation rights in individual countries. Highlight of a number of verdicts in France which strengthen the meaning of transnational employee representations

12 What means “information”? The Directive 1994 doesn't define information at all The Directive 2009 describes as follows: Information means transmission of data by the employer to the employees’ representatives in order to enable them to acquaint themselves with the subject matter and to examine it at such time, in such fashion and with such content as are appropriate to enable employees’ representatives to undertake an in-depth assessment of the possible impact and, where appropriate, prepare for consultations with the competent organ of the group

13 The following questions must be answered: Examination: How fast can EWC members check financial data thoroughly? Time: When is the adequate moment? Method: What is adequate to the purpose? Assessment: How can EWC members judge the possible consequences thoroughly? Preparation for consultations: How does one prepare for it? Which tools and framework conditions to be fulfilled? When will a measure have significant consequences? (Example Wabco, October 2008: "if by an alteration at least 50 jobs are concerned in two countries")

14 What means “consultation”? The Directive 1994 defines as “exchange of views and dialogue” The Directive 2009 defines consultation more exactly: at such time, in such fashion and with such content as enables employees’ representatives to express an opinion on the basis of the information provided within a reasonable time, which may be taken into account within the group

15 The following questions must be answered: At which moment does a statement still have influence on the decision making of the central management? Adequate period: How fast can EWC members work out a statement which takes into account all relevant financial data? What does “statement” mean at all? (in France this is an alternative restructuring plan, worked out with the assistance of consultancy firms) A missing statement leads automatically to a prohibitory injunction against central management (see example of Gaz de France)

16 EWC in practice Symbolic EWC Service driven EWC Project driven EWC Participative EWC

17 EWC in practice Typology EBR - EWC - CEE Symbolic EWC Management

18 EWC in practice Typology EBR - EWC - CEE Management Service driven EWC

19 EWC in practice Typology EBR - EWC - CEE Project driven EWC Management

20 EWC in practice Typology EBR - EWC - CEE Participative EWC Management

21 June 2009: the French electronics company Thales signed a first transnational agreement for 56,000 employees in eleven countries. Aim: improving the professional development of employees Whereas normally only general principles are defined in comparable agreements for other companies, Thales has committed itself to achieve concrete objectives and to put in place a monitoring process. April 2010: additonal agreement on personnel development reviews This is a milestone for staff development within high tech companies. Examples of transnational agreements

22 November 2009: the Luxembourg based steel group ArcelorMittal, which has been hit hard by the crisis, signed an agreement for 115,000 employees in 34 countries. Aim: promote long term job security, the development of employee competency and to improve social dialogue. A high-profile group for social dialogue has been set up, to monitor the profitability of all sites and the supervision of the agreement. Establishment of parity based control committees in each country. An arbitration board is planned for any disputes. Examples of transnational agreements

23 July 2010: the French metal companies, Alstom and Schneider Electric, signed an agreement for EU, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey. Aim: to regulate conditions for employees which are affected by the sale of the power transmission and distribution divisions of the French nuclear company Areva to Alstom and Schneider Electric. Three years guarantee for no plant closures and no redundancies. Once a year, the EWC will evaluate compliance to the agreement. This is the first time in EU history where the social consequences of an acquisition are regulated in a transnational collective agreement. Examples of transnational agreements


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