EWC Academy - Academy for European Works Councils and SE Works Councils

Brexit looking more and more unlikely

No changes for European works councils until 2021 → more

Training for EWC members (in English) for beginners and advanced

From 28 to 31 August 2018, Montabaur Castle, close to Frankfurt International Airport: → see leaflet

In-house Seminars

Training for the whole EWC or the select committee → more

Works councils are increasingly confronted with cross-border corporate organizations. The EWC Academy in Hamburg (Germany), as an employee-oriented consultancy and training firm, has specialized itself on the subject.

Our website is available since January 2001 and presents services for:

  • Workplace representatives in Germany and other countries
  • European works councils and SE works councils
  • Special negotiating bodies
  • Employee representatives in supervisory boards and workers' directors


Our offer includes:

  • Open seminars for individuals registering directly with us
  • In-house seminars for individual companies or works councils
  • Legal, economic and intercultural consulting
  • Strategies for the structuring of consultation procedures
  • Collaboration in relevant research projects, e.g. for the European Commission


The EWC Academy (and its forerunner organization) has so far trained and/or advised employee representatives from 273 companies which represents around 21 % of all currently existing transnational works councils in Europe.




Up-to-date News
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    German furniture chain avoids codetermination on supervisory board

    On 10 November 2017, the holding for the Höffner furniture stores, Möbel Kraft and Sconto cash-and-carry was registered at the Chamber of Commerce under the name Krieger Handel SE based in Schönefeld (near Berlin). The furniture chain owned by the Krieger family ranks third in Germany after Ikea and XXXLutz. It has around 11,500 employees throughout Europe...

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    Fireproof merger with one-third participation under Dutch jurisdiction

    The Austrian group RHI took over its Brazilian competitor Magnesita on 26 October 2017. The new group is now the world market leader in the manufacturer of fireproof materials. Both groups were approximately equivalent in size and each brought 7,500 employees worldwide into the merger...

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    German electronics manufacturer establishes European divisional works council

    A EWC agreement was signed for the Kostal family business at their headquarters in Lüdenscheid on 26 June 2017. The group manufactures electronic components for the automobile industry and solar technology and has 17,000 employees worldwide. The new EWC only covers the automotive electronics division since the other divisions do not fall under the scope of the agreement...

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    Swiss technology group establishes EWC under German jurisdiction

    A EWC agreement was signed for OC Oerlikon on 4 July 2017 at their headquarters in Freienbach on Lake Zurich. The group has 14,000 employees worldwide and produces coatings for vehicles and aviation as well as gearboxes for industrial applications. The headquarters has only 80 employees, but is able to benefit from very low corporate taxes...

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    Italian Petroleum Company establishes EWC

    A EWC agreement under Italian jurisdiction was concluded for Saipem on 17 July 2017, at their company headquarters in San Donato Milanese, a suburb of Milan. The group manufactures machines and drilling platforms and provides oil drilling and pipeline laying services. The European works council represents 10,000 employees in eleven EU member states and Norway...

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    French group works council merges with EWC

    The Anglo-Australian mining and raw materials group, Rio Tinto, have had a EWC in place under French jurisdiction since 2008. The EWC body was transferred to them from the aluminium manufacturer, Alcan in the course of its acquisition. After a lot of divestures and restructuring, Rio Tinto employs today only 2,200 workers in Europe, including 1,000 in France...

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    French petroleum group establishes fourth Divisional works council

    A revised EWC agreement for Total was signed on 30 June 2017 in La Défence, the Paris business district. It is an updated version of the agreement concluded on a voluntary basis with the trade unions in 1991 which is not subject to the EU Directive. The most recent major update was in October 2012 when the EWC was merged with the French Group works council...

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    International occupational health and safety committee visits US steel plant

    The occupational health and safety committee of ArcelorMittal held a meeting on 2 and 3 October 2017 in Burns Harbor on Lake Michigan (near Chicago), where the group has its second largest steel plant in the USA with 3,400 employees. It supplies the automobile industry in the region. The committee is based on an agreement concluded in June 2008 and since then, has already visited 26 sites around the world...

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    French engine manufacturer concludes exemplary agreement

    A framework agreement was signed in Paris on 18 October 2017 by central management of Safran and the global industrial trade union, industriALL. It covers all 58,000 employees in 30 countries around the globe and also applies to suppliers. The agreement is to be monitored by a committee financed by Safran, which is a sort of precursor to a world works council and meets twice annually...

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    European Pillar of Social Rights proclaimed

    On 17 November 2017, the "European Pillar of Social Rights" (EPSR) was signed by representatives of the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of the European Union at a Social Summit held in Gothenburg. It sets out twenty principles to support fair, well-functioning labour markets and welfare systems and should serve as a "compass for better working and living conditions within EU member states"...

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    Agreement on new Posting of Workers Directive

    Nurses and harvest pickers from Poland, building workers from Romania and butchers from Bulgaria have already been working for years in western EU member states for low wages. This is now set to change. On 23 October 2017, the Ministers for Social affairs agreed on the principles for revising the Directive on the transnational posting of workers to other EU countries from 1996...

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    Is avoidance of codetermination legally permissible in the media industry?

    A small shareholder of the ProSiebenSat.1 media group filed legal proceedings before the Munich regional court on 1 November 2017. The applicant is challenging the incorrect composition of the supervisory board. In February 2015, as part of the SE participation agreement, the special negotiating body had to accept that the supervisory board remains permanently free of staff representatives, although the company in Germany has 5.000 employees...

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    Trade unions lose case in fist instance against SAP

    On 7 December 2017, the local labour court in Mannheim ruled on a complaint filed by the IG Metall and ver.di trade unions who were seeking to preserve their seats on the supervisory board of SAP, the software group. The SE participation agreement which was concluded in March 2014, guarantees them two seats on the supervisory board, as was the case before the SE conversion and in accordance with German codetermination law...

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    No court ruling on the subject in legal dispute in London

    On 24 October 2017 the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC), dismissed a case on EWC matters against central management of the ManpowerGroup, in a first instance ruling in the United Kingdom. The chairman of the British employee representation had complained that his application as EWC candidate had been rejected...

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    Regulating the future world of work

    On 11 December 2017, UNI Global Union, umbrella organization for skilled and services employees, published two key policy papers for shaping the future world of work. The guidelines will feed into the global labour standards of the ILO and into any international framework agreements which trade unions conclude in multinational companies...

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    Austrian campaign for tax justice

    Information on the measures taken by the European Commission for combatting tax havens is published on a new website provided by the Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour in collaboration with the Austrian trade union confederation (ÖGB). This includes for example, current messages on the Panama Papers and the different strategies used by internet companies for tax evasion. The demands made by politicians are also documented...

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    New EWC manual from Austria

    A manual for European works councils on the topic of cross-border restructuring was published by GPA-djp, the union of private-sector employees, in October 2017. This represents the "core activity" particularly for representatives of EWC select committees. Apart from information on the legal and practical background there are 19 checklists, e.g. for the preparation of extraordinary meetings, how to avoid falling into the confidentiality trap as well as general principles for negotiating the consequences of restructuring with central management...

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    Negotiation of EWC and SE agreements

    A negotiation handbook was published at the end of November 2017 dealing with the topics of European and SE works councils. Up to now, similar publications have generally only focused on one of the two subjects, although they have more similarities than differences. At the beginning, the two authors from the chemical workers union (IG BCE) head office describe the requirements for starting the process of establishing a transnational works council...

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    National Assembly discusses "codétermination à la française"

    The social-democratic parliamentary group "Nouvelle Gauche" introduced a bill in parliament on 29 November 2017 which aims at reinforcing the presence of employee representatives on the administrative boards in French companies. In the future two employee representatives should have seats on the board in companies with 500 employees or more, one third of the board with 1.000 or more and one half starting from 5.000...

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    Codetermination remains merely cosmetic in Britain

    On 5 December 2017 the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), a semi-public authority for standardized financial reporting, published a proposal for a revised British Corporate Governance Code. This also tackles the question of how the voice of workers' interests could be better heard. During the election campaign for party leadership in July 2016, Prime Minister Theresa May had promised to include employee representatives on British company executive boards in the future...

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    Collective agreements and labour legislation in all 28 EU Member States

    The European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW) in Brussels has launched a new website providing information on wages, working conditions and the rights of building workers in each individual EU member state. The website is available in 24 languages and includes contact information of trade unions offering assistance and support...

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    Workplace skills development in Britain

    In 1998, the labour government at the time, launched a fund to promote skills development in the workplace. This also included measures for equal treatment and inclusion of those particularly disadvantaged on the job market, promotion of workplace training, support for English courses (e.g. for migrants) and the development of infrastructures for on-the-job training...

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    Latest news from the working world in Denmark

    The trade union confederation LO, which organizes blue collar workers in Denmark with 1.1 million members, publishes a newsletter in English every two months. It takes a look at labour relations and legislation, social policy as well as important court rulings in Denmark and EU issues from a Danish point of view...

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    China becomes major investor in Germany

    The Hans Böckler Foundation released a study dealing with Chinese investors in October 2017. Since 2015 China is the second largest direct investor in Germany after the USA. 13 billion € flowed into the country in 2016, which corresponds to five per cent of all industrial investments of the German economy. The acquisition of companies by Chinese investors has generally proven to be favourable from an employee perspective...

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    Insight into Politics and Society in individual EU countries

    In October 2017, the German Federal Government released a new edition of its brochure on social and economic systems of EU countries. It presents essential information on each of the 28 member states in comparison with Germany and the EU. Each country is presented individually on some ten pages, with its history, geography, culture, economics and social security system, together with an appendix on key political and economic figures...

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    Works council seminar in Poland

    The EWC Academy held a seminar from 18 to 20 October 2017 for the first time in Gdańsk. The topics covered were the type of Shared Service Centres being currently relocated to Central and Eastern Europe and how European works councils should deal with this...

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    Anniversary cake for Swiss insurance company

    The Zurich European Forum (ZEF) held a meeting in the insurance company's training centre above Lake Zurich from 6 to 8 November 2017. They celebrated an anniversary since the first meeting was held back in 1997. The EWC agreement had already been signed in September 1996 and therefore still remains to this day, not subject to the EU Directive. It was last updated however in February 2016 and amended with guidelines for socially responsible restructuring...

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    German automobile supplier prepares SE conversion

    On 9 and 10 November 2017, the EWC Academy provided training on the topic of SE conversion for works council members at the largest plant of Fehrer in Kitzingen (Bavaria). The Aunde Group, as a parent company of three formerly independent family businesses, which manufacture car seats and other components as well as industrial textiles, is to operate under the legal form of the European Company (SE) in the future. This will involve around 8,800 employees in the EU...

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    Data protection in US automobile supplier

    A plenary meeting of Dana's European works council was held in Bad Soden am Taunus (near Frankfurt) from 22 to 24 November 2017. The main topic was the EU General Data Protection Regulation, which will come into force on 25 May 2018. Since US companies in particular process data outside the EU, they must adapt data processing beforehand...

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    Brexit, a stroke of luck for Continental Europe?

    The decision of the British to abandon the European Union is contributing to strengthening cohesion between the remaining countries. This has been demonstrated by a survey carried out by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in August 2017, in which voters in eight countries were asked their opinion on the EU. Compared with a survey from 2015, appreciation of the benefits of the EU has considerably grown in Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden as well as in Czechia and Slovakia...

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    Hedge fund takes over retail office supplies group

    The European works council of Staples Solutions held its meeting from 5 to 7 December 2017 in the company headquarters in Amsterdam. The US group Staples, had sold its European business in 17 countries to the US financial investor Cerberus, in February 2017. With support from the EWC Academy, the EWC addressed the subsequent rapid development of completely new Shared service centers in Eastern Europe, particularly in Poland...

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    Conference for works council members in US companies

    A conference focusing on the USA was held for the fifth time from 18 to 20 September 2017. Apart from industrial relations, it covered in particular the current situation following presidential elections. One of the speakers was Hermann Nehls, who, until a few weeks ago was working at the German Embassy in Washington as labour, health and social affairs counselor...

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    Two US companies following their merger

    Negotiations for a EWC agreement for Rockwell Collins between their EWC steering committee and central management were concluded at their European headquarters in Toulouse airport, on 26 and 27 September 2017. The company manufactures control and navigation systems for aviation and had acquired the supplier B/E Aerospace in April 2017...

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    Training for newly established SE works council

    The new SE works council of Tom Tailor, the fashion retailer, held their plenary meeting at their headquarters in Hamburg on 27 and 28 September 2017, during which the EWC Academy provided their first training. The representatives from eleven countries represent 6,600 employees. The SE participation agreement was signed in July 2016 and provides for a full-parity supervisory board

 

   EWC Academy GmbH - Rödingsmarkt 52 - 20459 Hamburg - Germany