“Democracy at work does not stop with COVID-19! Our rights to be informed and consulted before any decision that may impact workers’ health, incomes or jobs is made, must be implemented now, more than ever. We will not accept being placed before a “fait accompli”. We will not accept being left with only the task of managing the social consequences of restructuring. We will act proactively and make sure that we coordinate amongst ourselves and across borders, to anticipate and shape the transformation of our industries”. This is the essence of the message shared by the industriAll Europe team and the ca. 100 participants at an online industriAll Europe/ETUI training held on 16 December.
During the training, trade union officers and representatives active in multinational companies shared their own experience of dealing with transnational restructuring. They also heard examples from European works council members, including Ericsson EWC, who keep themselves posted about major developments all year long. Those EWC who have been involved in their company restructuring project at an early stage, andwith enough quality information, such as General Electric Aviation EWC, have been able to develop a proper in-depth assessment and to propose an alternative.
Wednesday’s online training was also an opportunity to introduce the very concrete tips and recommendations that industriAll Europe has recently developed - on its own and jointly with the other European Trade Union Federations (ETUFs) - to better equip worker representatives in multinational companies to:
- Claim their rights to information, consultation and participation, and oppose any attempt at impeding workers’ voices (be it through abusive interpretation of confidentiality rules or inaccurate understanding of what a “transnational” decision is), especially during the current crisis.
- Build up transnational solidarity, cooperation and exchange of information amongst trade union representatives and EWC/SE members, including (and especially) in-between the formal EWC/SE-WC meetings convened by management.
- Shape restructuring through tight trade union coordination and joint actions, with the support of industriAll Europe
The tips and tricks are further elaborated in a series of practical recommendations for EWC/SE members and trade union representatives in multinational companies that industriAll Europe and the ETUFs has published on:
- Anticipating and managing the impact of the COVID-19 crisis in multinational companies
- Temporary arrangements for transnational EWC/SE-WC meetings during the COVID-19 crisis
- Stepping up information exchange and networking in multinational companies
- Stepping up ad hoc trade union coordination