17) Is the EWC entitled to training? 

There is no right to training in the 1994 Directive.  Exceptionally, The Netherlands has written in the right to training in its own Law on European Works Councils (“WEOR”, (6)), but this right is only valid for every Dutch EWC member.  The right to training is now enshrined in the 2009 EWC Directive: nevertheless, it will still be governed by the EWC agreement until the Directive is transposed into national legislation by 2011.  In the EWCs of companies that are originally Dutch, the right to training is frequently spelled out in the agreement (there is a right to training in 62% of Dutch agreement as opposed to 28% of all EWCs).  Furthermore, individual EWC members are often entitled to language classes in accordance with their agreement.

18) Is my SNB or EWC entitled to the assistence of an expert? 

The Law spells out that the SNB can get the assistance of experts.  The SNB is entitled to chose these experts.  In most national EWC legislation the cost is borne by the company.

In the subsidiary requirements (8) it is also stipulated that the EWC can be supported by a expert of its choice.  The cost is also borne by the company.  In most national legislation it is stipulated that the company need not pay for more than one expert (sometimes, like in The Netherlands: more than one expert per subject).  In the EWC agremeent the workers and the employers in the company have to make arrangements and do not have to adopt the subsidiary requirements (8).  Take a look at what the specific rights of your EWC are in your company’s EWC agreement.

19) Am I entitled to interpreting services? 

It is stipulated in the subsidiary requirements (8) of the Directive that the company has to pay for interpreting costs.  However other arrangements can be made about interpreting in the Agreement.  So look out for the (important!) right to interpreters in your own EWC agreement.

20) What is the best way to work with interpreters? 

A lot of EWCs use the services of interpreters. The fact of the matter is that there is a multitude of languages in Europe and not everybody is in a position to take part in a meeting in English (French, German, etc.)

Some tips for working with interpreters*:

Use technical equipment that tallies perfectly with your infrastructure.

  • Give the interpreting team as much information as possible beforehand, so that it can be prepared for your professional jargon and the terms and abbreviations that you use in your company.
  • See to it that the interpreting team has the same written material at its disposal as the participants.
  • Provide last-minute documents in the interpreting booths before the beginning of the presentations.
  • Begin the meeting by pointing out the language channels and the numbers and testing the equipment.
  • Let the meeting be structured:
    -          Show of hand for the floor
    -          Chair gives the floor
  • Use your natural speaking rythm without deliberately talking fast or slowly.
  • Speak in the direction of the microphone with good voice volume.
  • Be careful of word plays, jokes or metphorical language – these are generally difficult to translate.
  • Pronounce figures and names very well to avoid phonetical confusion.
  • Do not interrupt the speaker.
  • Wait until the interpreters are finished interpreting the previous speaker before you take the floor.
  • Take off your headset and place it away from the microphone when you take the floor.

*With thanks to Eric Bauwelinck from Mastervoice