Through their representatives, millions of workers in the manufacturing, energy and mining sectors are being informed and consulted nowadays on a wide range of transnational matters that concern them. IndustriAll Europe celebrates this double anniversary, reiterating the European trade unions' commitment to promote and defend a model of corporate governance which gives workers, both at national and European levels, a stronger say in company strategy.
Since the inception of EWCs, it has been the policy of industriAll Europe and its founding organisations to seize the opportunity thus created to build effective counter-power vis-à-vis multinational companies.
IndustriAll Europe's assessment of the Recast EWC Directive is thus mixed. EWCs' added value is indisputable and several of the Directive's provisions were improved by the 2009 Recast: some legal uncertainties were removed (e.g. the role of European trade union organisations); some rights were strengthened (e.g. better definitions of 'information' and 'consultation'); new important rights were added (e.g. new tools for EWCs such as the essential right to report back at national level about EWC activities and the right to training). In addition, EWC members' experience has grown over more than two decades of practice and of learning to work together in a truly Europeanised framework. Nevertheless, hurdles still need to be overcome in order for the EWC Directive to be fully efficient. IndustriAll Europe is more committed than ever to strive for the setting up of EWCs on the basis of quality agreements, for the upgrading of existing agreements, and for the support of running EWCs, so that a growing number of EWCs will become 'proactive' and participatory bodies.
IndustriAll Europe and its affiliated organisations will also continue to advocate for stronger rights for their employee representatives in EWCs and, more broadly, for high standards of workers' involvement. Existing national and European information and consultation rights must not only be fully enforced but also strengthened in order to guarantee that workers are involved in strategic decisions at a very early stage and that they can still have an influence on the planned measures and their social consequences. Ambitious standards for workers' board-level representation as an additional source of workers' influence must also be achieved. The voice of the workers in multinational companies is at its strongest when all local, national and European processes of information, consultation and participation are working together. IndustriAll Europe will fight for improved worker rights to information, consultation and participation guaranteeing workers, both at national and European levels, a stronger say in company strategy.