Following the adoption of Council directive 94/45/EC (the EWC directive) more than 1,250 EWCs were established. This industrial relations institution was intended to ensure transnational information and consultation were available to worker representatives within MNCs that met the thresholds of the legislation. Initially the quality of information and consultation met neither standards required by the directive nor those specified in EU Charters and Treaties. In consequence, a recast directive (2009/38/EC) was adopted with the intention of remedying the shortcomings of the initial legislation. By means of survey evidence this book demonstrates that the recast directive has also failed to ensure EWC operations of the required standard. In particular, the timing and utility of information and consultation is inadequate with the result that most EWCs are institutions of information rather than information and consultation.

The book also shows that EWCs are contested institutions. BusinessEurope prefers voluntary rather than legislative solutions and, only when politically compelled, enters into meaningful negotiations on legislation with the objective of limiting the coverage of the measure and the obligations it imposes on management. Managers have also developed strategies to use EWCs to achieve corporate objectives. Consistent with these approaches European policy-makers have limited any legislative change to improve information and consultation even when research that they have commissioned illustrates the shortfalls. In contrast, trade unionists have campaigned for legislative change to ensure adequate standards of information and consultation, while also taking action to promote trade union involvement in EWCs, to articulate EWCs with other institutions of labour representation and to provide training to EWC representatives. This book traces how this contestation underpins the development of EWCs and assesses how this contestation is likely to impact the future development of EWCs.

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Table of contents

European Works Councils. Contested and still in the making_2021 print and web.pdf

01-Contents-European Works Councils. Contested and still in the making_2021.pdf

02-List of figures and tables-European Works Councils. Contested and still in the making_2021.pdf

03-Abbreviations-European Works Councils. Contested and still in the making_2021.pdf

04-Preface-European Works Councils. Contested and still in the making_2021.pdf

05-Chapter1-Setting the scene_2021.pdf

06-Chapter2-Contestation the parties to the Directive_2021.pdf

07-Chapter3-Mapping variation within the institution_2021.pdf

08-Chapter4-Information and consultation still struggling to make the grade_2021.pdf

09-Chapter5-Communication and EWCs is the European level articulated_2021.pdf

10-Chapter6-Do trade unions make a difference_2021.pdf

11-Chapter7-Does training make a difference_2021.pdf

12-Chapter8-Management seeking a corporate rather than an information and consultation agenda for EWCs_2021.pdf

13-Chapter9-Enforcing the rights of EWCs_2021.pdf

14-Chapter10-Negotiating with management moving beyond the information and consultation functions_2021.pdf

15-Chapter11-Conclusions and prospects_2021.pdf

16-Appendix A Compiling the database_2021.pdf

17-Appendix B Reform agenda of the European Trade Union Confederation (2017)_2021.pdf

18-Appendix C Specifying the variables_2021.pdf

19-References-European Works Councils. Contested and still in the making_2021.pdf