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

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What changes for European works councils >>>

Current topics of EWC and SE work & employee representation in France

10th Hamburg Conference >>>

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, available since January 2001, presents the 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 268 companies which represents around 21 % of all currently existing transnational works councils in Europe.




Up-to-date News
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    French TGV maker becomes German – "thanks" to China

    The German ICE and the French TGV currently represent the world's two leading high-speed train technologies. They are however coming under competitive pressure from China, where the world's largest rail-vehicle manufacturer was founded following a merger in 2015. On 26 September 2017, it was announced that the ICE manufacturer Siemens Mobility and Alstom, the TGV maker are to merge by the end of 2018...

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    French agricultural cooperative establishes EWC

    A EWC agreement was signed on 4 May 2017 at the headquarters of Tereos in Origny-Sainte-Benoite (Picardy). The world's third largest sugar manufacturer belongs to 12,000 farmers. European forums had already existed in sub-divisions of the company on a "voluntary" basis since 1995. For the first time, the whole company is now covered and the EWC is subject to the current EU Directive...

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    EWC already established before spin-off

    A EWC agreement was signed for the Swedish paper manufacturer Essity, on 30 May 2017 in Stockholm. The company was spun-off from the SCA group only a few days later, on 15 June 2017, and launched on the stock market. Medical products have also now been added through the acquisition of BSN medical from Hamburg. Essity has 48,000 employees worldwide and stands behind brands such as Tempo and Leukoplast...

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    British media group establishes EWC under Dutch jurisdiction

    A EWC agreement was concluded on 13 June 2017 for Liberty Global, the world's largest cable TV and broadband operator. The company which was founded in 2005, is based in London and as a consequence of the step-by-step acquisition of regional and national cable operators has today a presence in twelve European countries. The largest number of employees outside the United Kingdom is to be found in the Netherlands...

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    Dodging codetermination from Mannheim via Liechtenstein to Europe

    The health-care provider Phoenix from Mannheim has been avoiding any supervisory board-level participation since it was founded in 1994. At the time, the billionaire family Merckle had acquired five regional pharmaceutical wholesalers in Germany and subsequently expanded massively throughout Europe. Today the Phoenix Pharma SE has 34,000 employees in 26 countries throughout Europe (including 4,400 in Germany) and runs 2,000 pharmacies in 13 countries...

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    Building and Real Estate Company avoids full-parity supervisory board

    An SE participation agreement was signed for Drees & Sommer on 23 January 2017 in Stuttgart. The consulting firm has been operating as an SE since 26 April 2017. The entire company equity is in the hands of the currently or formerly active company executives who have made a considerable contribution to the success of the company...

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    Codetermination avoided thanks to mini-workforce in Luxembourg

    The German financial services provider MLP, based in Wiesloch (near Heidelberg) has been operating as a SE since 22 September 2017. The financial sales company with a license for banking has 1,941 employees in Germany and six in Luxembourg. Through its conversion to a SE, the management used the possibility of permanently avoiding full-parity codetermination which is legally prescribed in Germany starting from 2,000 employees...

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    British packaging and recycling company sets standards

    An employee charter was signed for DS Smith between the European works council and central management on 3 April 2017 at their headquarters in London. It applies to 26,000 employees in 36 countries worldwide, including 500 from outside Europe. Unlike international framework agreements, which are aimed at locations in other parts of the world, for DS Smith the focus lies on Europe...

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    Italian insurance company promotes teleworking

    A joint declaration on teleworking for Generali was signed between their European works council and central management at a meeting held on 16 May 2017 in Munich. In the future, all European subsidiaries should intensify their efforts to promote innovative measures ("Smart Working"), to help create an agile organization and develop new skills...

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    French railways updates EWC agreement

    An addendum to the SNCF's EWC agreement was signed on 29 June 2017 in Paris. It had been concluded for the entire company for the first time in December 2012. Previously there were EWC bodies only in two subsidiaries. The two independent European works councils for SNCF Logistics (formerly Geodis), the freight division, as well as for Keolis, the passenger transport division (bus network, also regional trains outside of France) will continue to operate...

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    Prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace

    Sodexo's central management in Paris signed a Joint Commitment on 21 June 2017 with the International Union of Foodworkers (IUF) providing measures for the prevention of sexual harassment. The French group does business in the field of community catering and facilities management and has 425,000 employees in 80 countries around the globe...

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    Discussion with the management over global personnel policy

    The FAIR committee of Total, the French petroleum group, held their second meeting in Casablanca (Morocco) on 11 July 2017. The committee supervises compliance to the international framework agreement that was concluded in January 2015 with the trade unions...

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    British on-line retailer reinforces social responsibility

    On 2 October 2017, the London based on-line fashion retailer ASOS (As Seen On Screen) signed a framework agreement which is applicable worldwide with the Global Union federation industriALL. It is the first one ever in the e-commerce sector. The 4,000 employees of ASOS now have the legal right to join trade unions and to establish employee representative bodies...

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    French Constitutional Council authorizes deadlines for consultation procedures

    On 3 August 2017, the Constitutional Council in Paris ruled on an emergency court appeal from the social chamber of the Court of Cassation on the question whether the deadlines for works council consultations which have been legally defined since 2014, are constitutional or not. The Constitutional Council can be compared to the Federal Labour Court in Germany...

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    German law on collective bargaining unity from 2015 is constitutional

    The provisions of the law on collective bargaining unity are largely compatible with the Constitution according to a ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe from 11 July 2017. In Germany since July 2015, the collective agreement signed by the majority union having the most members is the only one that is applicable in companies with several trade unions...

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    Belgian Railways' law on collective bargaining unity from 2016 unconstitutional

    On 26 July 2017, the constitutional court in Brussels decided that parts of the law concerning the administration and employees of the national railways company dating from 2016, are unconstitutional. It has ruled that as of 2018, for the first time works council members are to be elected as in the private sector. So far the relative strength of the unions is based on membership figures...

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    German codetermination is conform with EU law

    On 18 July 2017, a small shareholder of the tourism group TUI failed in his attempt to eradicate employee codetermination rights on the supervisory board before the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg for infringement of EU legislation. His reasoning was that since only the workforce in Germany has the right to vote for the supervisory board, then the other countries are disadvantaged...

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    Ryanair loses before the European Court of Justice

    On 14 September 2017, the European Court of Justice ruled that Ryanair employees may take legal action where they are stationed. The airline is of the opinion that the entire workforce is exclusively under Irish jurisdiction and that any legal proceedings can only take place in Ireland. Six employees from Belgium have hereby succeeded in imposing that their court cases will now continue before the labor courts in Mons (Hainaut)...

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    Cleaning manager at Goldman Sachs enforce EWC landmark court decision

    On 10 January 2017, the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) ruled on the obligation of employers to provide information in the run-up to EWC establishment. The court action was taken by an employee representative from Facilicom, a Dutch facility services company...

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    German Discount chain loses in third instance ruling in London

    On 4 May 2017, an industrial tribunal in London ruled that the British trade union GMB may organize a ballot for establishing employee representation for the 273 employees in Lidl's warehouse in Bridgend (Wales). GMB filed a complaint with the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) in London in March 2016 after management had persistently refused and won their case...

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    Court fees for British employees illegal

    On 26 July 2017, the High Court of Justice ruled that tribunal fees, levied since July 2013, are unconstitutional. The government must reimburse some 27 to 32 million £s in tribunal fees to thousands of plaintiffs. The judgement was obtained by Unison, the second largest single trade union in the TUC and which has a predominant presence in the public services sector...

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    Training project for transnational employee representatives

    During 2015 and 2016, trade unions from Spain, Ireland and Bulgaria took part in the I.T.E.M. project organized by the Italian trade union CGIL with financial backing from the EU. It included three seminars in each of the four countries involved and a transnational workshop for EWC members. It was concluded by a European conference where a trainers' manual in the languages of the four countries involved was presented. The project developed its own website...

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    Progression of digitalization examined in four countries

    In a EU sponsored project carried out by Tübingen University, research workers and trade unionists from four countries have examined the concrete changes in labour relations that have resulted as a consequence of digitalization and "Industry 4.0". Under the title "Smart Factory", the technological vision of a fully automated and intelligent factory, is presented in a country comparison between Germany (Baden-Württemberg), Italy (Lombardy), Spain (Catalonia) and Sweden (Västergötland)...

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    Lobby group for sustainable finance industry

    Seven unions from the finance industry have joined together to found the umbrella federation NFU, with a view to representing the common interests of their 150,000 members before the EU. Its core demands include a long-term and sustainable finance industry, constructive social dialogue, legally guaranteed rights to collective bargaining and a value-based human resources policy in the banking and insurance sectors...

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    Study on work-related stress in four countries

    The Academy of the European Confederation of Independent Trade Unions (CESI), in Brussels published a study on occupational health and safety in March 2017. It focuses on psychosocial stress which is on the rise as a result of the use of new technologies in the working environment. Besides presenting the legal EU framework, the study also includes the results of interviews carried out in public administrations in Italy, Spain, Belgium and Germany...

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    Works councils and financial analysis

    In August 2017, the Association of Austrian Trade Union Education (VÖGB) published a new brochure, which enables works councils to better comprehend the economic situation of their company. The authors from the business consulting department in the Chamber of Labour in Vienna, are of the opinion that it is not sufficient just to "read" the end-of-year financial statements...

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    Preparations for a law on collective bargaining unity in Sweden

    Container handling in the port of Gothenburg has declined in the first half of 2017 by around 22%. This has been caused by a labour dispute that has been brewing between trade unions competing for collective bargaining rights in the container terminal of APM Terminals. Gothenburg is Scandinavia's largest port and half of all Swedish containers are handled there...

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    Independent reports on labour relations in China

    The China Labour Bulletin has been presenting critical newsletter and radio reports on developments in the People's Republic of China, since 1994. The Hong Kong based website offers a unique overview of employee organized protest actions, collective bargaining, trade unions and industrial safety. Legal proceedings taken by employees against their employers are also documented...

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    Cultural insight into twelve European countries

    An intercultural handbook was published in May 2017, which not only covers country-specific cultural characteristics but also deals with the perception of human rights and corporate social responsibility within the different cultural backgrounds. Apart from the historical background, which is often evoked to explain cultural differences, there are also practical examples from companies in each of the 22 selected countries, for which there is a description of problematic situations between people of different cultures arising in everyday working life...

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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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    Data Protection Seminar in Mainz

    The annual data protection seminar was held from 3 to 5 July 2017. The main focus was the General Data Protection Regulation which will replace the German Federal law on Data Protection in May 2018. The rules for the processing of personal data will then be unified across all EU Member States. The supporting program of the seminar included a visit to the Kupferberg terrace, which is the deepest sparkling wine cellar in the world...

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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