6) What legislation is relevant to the EWC? 

The EU Directive underpins the European Works Council.  The first EWC Directive, 94/45EC, goes back to 1994. A recast Directive, 2009/38/EC, was published in May 2009.

A European Directive has to be transposed into national legislation.  So there is EWC legislation, a total of 30 laws, in every Member Stateof the European Union and the European Economic Area (4).  The 30 laws all follow the Directive and really resemble one another.  In The Netherlands the Law on European Works Councils (“WEOR”) has been in effect since 1997. 

The EWC Directive was revised in 2009.  The 30 countries have until June 2011 to adjust their legislation to it.

The EWC agreement which workers and employers sign together is the basis for the work in the EWC.  This agreement also falls under the legislative framework of one of the Member States (7).  It is important for a member of the SNB (10) or the EWC to be aware of the legislative provisions of the country that their agreement falls under.

Finally each SNB (10) or EWC member’s own national legislation is important. Ppersonal rights of the EWC member are enshrined in it, for instance protection.  You can also find out how a representative from your country is electred or designated.

7) What legislation applies to my EWC? 

An EWC agreement is always signed under the EWC legislation of a specific country.  This is firstly the country where the parent company is established.  Of course the parent company might well be established in one of the countries where the EU Directive is not applicable (4).  In this case the parent company appoints a representative from a country that belongs to the EU/EEA (4).  If that is not possible, then the legislation of the Member States with the most amount of workers shall apply.

8) What are the subsidiary requirements? 

In order to set up an EWC, the worker representatives have to conclude a customised agreement with the company’s central management.  If an agreement is not struck within 3 years, if management refuses to conduct negotiations or if both parties agree to the effect, the company reverts to the subsidiary requirements of the legislation applicable to that company (6).  That is why the subsidiary requirements are also called a ‘fallback scheme’.  During (re-)negotiations both parties always keep the subsidiary requirements in mind: this is what they will get should all else fail.  As soon as there agreement, the subsidiary requirements no longer are relevant to the EWC.