21) What is the trade unions' involvement in the EWC?
European worker participation is a responsibility shared by the national works council and the trade unions. This means that, certainly at the initial stage, intensive cooperation between the two is necessary. In the Recast Directive (2009) (6) it is now explicitly stated that trade unions can be brought in as experts when the EWC is being set up. That way, the fledgeling EWC can make use of trade union knowledge, experience and the broad European network. What is more, it is apparently easier to make contact with other works council/management members in other companies and countries via the trade unions than through compnany worker participation. On top of that trade unions have a lot of knowledge and experience with regard to activities and experiences of other EWC's in the same sector. This can also be very valuable to the EWC. A company is not an island. Developments in the sector always have an impact on individual companies.
In some European Works Councils a trade union official has a seat on the EWC. The advantage is that the knowledge is ‘in-house’. In several, more Dutch-oriented EWC's, it is more common to bring in the trade union official as an external expert so that (s)he can take part in most meetings.