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

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

From 23 to 26 April 2019, Montabaur Castle, close to Frankfurt International Airport → see leaflet

In-house Seminars

Training for members of EWC or select committee → more

Works councils are increasingly confronted with cross-border corporate organizations. The EWC Academy in Hamburg (Germany) is a specialized, employee-oriented consultancy and training firm in this area.

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 276 companies which represents around 21 % of all currently existing transnational works councils in Europe.




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    Drug manufacturer: full-parity codetermination in just 34 minutes

    An SE participation agreement for B. Braun was signed on 14 August 2018 in Melsungen (near Kassel). This family business in medical supplies has 62,000 employees worldwide, including 15,000 in Germany and 18,000 in other European countries. It has already had a full-parity supervisory board in place for many years. The SE conversion takes place in two stages. First of...

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    Codetermination in Germany under pressure

    While the codetermination model is gaining more ground in Anglo-Saxon countries, it is nonetheless currently coming under mounting pressure in its country of origin. More and more companies are using foreign legal forms to avoid codetermination on supervisory boards. Although there were only three individual cases in 2000, in the meantime 5% of all companies with codetermination in Germany...

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    Court prohibits avoidance of codetermination through SE conversion

    On 27 August 2018, the Frankfurt am Main higher regional court ruled that the Deutsche Wohnen SE real-estate group is to have a full-parity supervisory board. Since it was founded in 1998, the company has acquired numerous housing companies in Germany (both public and non-profit) and aims at generating maximum return. Over 70% of the stock of apartments is located in...

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    East German energy service provider escapes codetermination

    The Special Negotiating Body (SNB) for regiocom signed an SE agreement drafted by management in its constitutional meeting held in Magdeburg on 15 October 2018. regiocom offers complete solutions for energy customers and has 800 employees located in Magdeburg, with an additional 400 in Bulgaria. regiocom acquired call centres of the mobile operator E-Plus with 3,300 employees in March 2017. With now 5,000 employees...

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    Medical company in Baden-Württemberg escapes codetermination

    An SE agreement for Stratec was signed on 5 November 2018 in Birkenfeld (near Karlsruhe). More than 1,000 employees in eight countries manufacture diagnostic analysis systems and develop software for medical laboratories. They have been permanently excluded from the supervisory board, even when the company exceeds the threshold for full-parity codetermination (2,000 employees in Germany)...

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    World's largest fashion retailer establishes EWC

    A EWC agreement for Inditex was concluded on 25 September 2018 in Madrid. The textile company based in Galicia has 170,000 employees worldwide and is better known under its various brand names (see photo). The Special Negotiating Body was able to conclude negotiations after only three meetings. Inditex has already been cooperating with trade unions on a global level since 2007 through an international framework agreement...

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    U.S. power station constructor chooses British law

    A EWC agreement for Westinghouse was signed under British jurisdiction on 11 October 2018 in Manchester. It applies to 3,300 employees in twelve countries and contains a Brexit clause, according to which the UK is to remain within the scope of the agreement. Central management is not part of the EWC, and it is chaired by an elected employee representative. For the first four-year term of office the members of...

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    Turkish confectionary manufacturer negotiates EWC under British jurisdiction

    A EWC agreement was signed between the Yıldız Holding and their Special Negotiating Body on 11 October 2018 in London. In recent years this family business has expanded through numerous acquisitions to 60,000 employees (among them 45,000 in Turkey) and as a result has become the world's second largest manufacturer of bakery products. The process for establishing a full-fledged EWC for the...

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    Automobile supplier from Lake Constance merges two European works councils

    A new EWC agreement for the ZF group was signed on 9 July 2018 in Friedrichshafen. It integrates the previously independent European works council of TRW Automotive. This formerly U.S. company has belonged to ZF since 2015. Negotiations for merging both EWC bodies had begun in February 2017 with support of the EWC Academy...

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    French tourism group clarifies EWC rules

    The EWC agreement of Club Méditerranée was finally updated on 19 September 2018 after more than three years of negotiations. The company operates holiday resorts in 26 countries around the world and was taken over by Chinese investors in 2015. The EWC has been in existence since 1996 on the basis of a "voluntary" agreement and represents 3,500 employees in nine EU Member States, including 2,700 in France...

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    French construction group revises EWC agreement

    A revised EWC agreement for Vinci was signed on 26 September 2018 in Rueil-Malmaison near Paris. 29 EWC members represent 152,000 employees in the single market and in Switzerland. After France with 97,000 employees the largest countries are Germany with 15,000, the UK with 9,000 and Portugal with 4,500 employees. Countries with fewer than 500 employees do not have a seat. The group's CEO convokes one annual plenary meeting which he chairs...

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    Paid parental leave in 73 countries around the world

    An international framework agreement on fundamental social rights was signed for the 200,000 employees of BNP Paribas on 18 September 2018 in Paris. The largest bank of the Eurozone has committed to social dialogue with trade unions, to gender equality, sets out a framework for corporate restructuring and wants to specifically combat workplace harassment and mobbing...

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    Airplane manufacturer establishes Global works council

    The SE agreement for Airbus was updated on 17 October 2018 to include the establishment of the "Airbus Global Forum". It is composed of the SE works council select committee members and two union representatives from each of the regions; Middle-East-Africa, Asia-Pacific, China, Latin America and North America. The forum meets once a year. The structure of the SE works council was also changed...

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    Deutsche Telekom subsidiary faced with radical job cuts

    On 1 August 2018, the labour courts in Bonn rejected an interim injunction order against the central management of Deutsche Telekom. The European works council of Germany's largest telecommunications company considers that its information and consultation rights have been violated with respect to massive job cuts planned at T-Systems and in the meantime has filed legal proceedings with the Higher Labour Court in Cologne...

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    No plans to revise EWC Directive

    The European Commission was due to publish a report on the implementation of the 2009 recast EWC Directive, by 5 June 2016 at the latest - in exact accordance with the requirements of article 15 of this Directive. The report was finally published on 14 May 2018, almost two years late. It is based on an empirical evaluation, in which the EWC Academy had also participated...

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    British-Dutch consumer goods group sets global standards

    A memorandum of understanding was signed on 31 October 2018 in London between Unilever's central management and two international trade union confederations. The company hereby commits itself to respect freedom of association and collective bargaining in all of its subsidiaries and suppliers. There have already been bi-annual meetings between the parties since 2010 as well as two working groups for sustainable development and gender equality...

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    Codetermination in Germany under pressure

    While the codetermination model is gaining more ground in Anglo-Saxon countries, it is nonetheless currently coming under mounting pressure in its country of origin. More and more companies are using foreign legal forms to avoid codetermination on supervisory boards. Although there were only three individual cases in 2000, in the meantime 5% of all companies with codetermination in Germany have already followed suit...

  • Companies
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    Court prohibits avoidance of codetermination through SE conversion

    On 27 August 2018, the Frankfurt am Main higher regional court ruled that the Deutsche Wohnen SE real-estate group is to have a full-parity supervisory board. Since it was founded in 1998, the company has acquired numerous housing companies in Germany (both public and non-profit) and aims at generating maximum return. Over 70% of the stock of apartments is located in...

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    Trade unions lose case against SAP in second instance

    On 9 October 2018, the Baden-Württemberg regional employment tribunal in Mannheim rejected a claim filed by the IG Metall and ver.di trade unions against the software company SAP. The decision confirms the first-instance court ruling from December 2017...

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    Judges in Rotterdam let Spanish aluminium workers down

    On 27 November 2018, the trade court in Rotterdam rejected a claim for injunction to provisionally prohibit two planned plant closures for Alcoa in Spain. The legal case, which was filed by Alcoa's European works council, was followed with great suspense in the Spanish press. The EWC of the US automobile supplier Visteon had already failed to prevent a plant closure in Spain...

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    Apprenticeship in six European and two further countries

    Trade unions from Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Slovakia, Costa Rica and South Africa have developed a quality framework for dual apprenticeship and vocational training with the support of the German Federal Ministry of Education. The Unions4VET project covers minimum training standards, legal regulations, involvement of social partners, vocational colleges and research as well as skills training for teachers...

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    Digitalization in countries in the Danube region

    The Austrian trade union confederation (ÖGB) is currently carrying out the danube@work project which deals with the challenges that digitalization represents for the job markets in Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia. This includes a register of the most strongly concerned industries in each country and expected future developments...

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    New union IT web portal in Germany

    In November 2018, the German trade union confederation (DGB) launched a news web portal, unionize.de. It presents IT topics such as Big Data, Blockchain and artificial intelligence and examines the effects they are having on the working world. In addition some digital tips and tricks for employees and trade union work are also presented...

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    Insight into Brussels lobby landscape

    There has been a publicly accessible EU lobby transparency register in place since 2011 and since 2014 the European Commission edits an on-line list of all meetings, which the Commissioners and Director Generals have held with registered lobbyists. The Internet platform LobbyFacts.eu, provides an analysis of this data. One of the financially strongest lobby organizations is e.g. the European Chemical Industry Council, which is represented...

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    Book of templates for works council activities

    A new edition of this legal reference book for German works councils with some 1,000 pages was published in September 2018, and includes 60 pages on European works councils. Besides sample letters for the establishment of a EWC there are also sample templates for the wording of individual sections of a EWC agreement and rules of procedure (in both German and English). In addition...

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    New EWC handbook from Brussels

    In September 2018, the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) published its third booklet on the work of European works councils. It provides background information, practical tools and check lists for handling cross-border restructuring. In particular it describes the legal framework governing the information and consultation procedure in the EWC and its coordination with local works councils. The handbook examines...

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    "Communication is of utmost importance" - the EWC from a management perspective

    The results of a research project, which examines the work of European works councils from an employer perspective were published in September 2018. 40 HR managers and employee representatives were interviewed at the headquarters of twelve German groups (four in the SE legal form) on their collaboration at a European level. The working relationship between the group's top executives...

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    Trade unions and works councils in Spain

    The Friedrich Ebert Foundation released this new country analysis on Spain, in October 2018. It highlights the main challenges, which the trade unions are currently confronting: high unemployment in the wake of the financial market crisis, the Catalonia independence movement and the end of the two-party system. The level of trade-union membership of 14% is twice as high as in France and in the last 20 years...

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    Fall off the cliff-edge or delayed suicide?

    The EU Heads of State endorsed the draft withdrawal agreement on 25 November 2018. The British Parliament will decide on its approval mid-January 2019 but is very unlikely to be backed by a majority of its members. Without a withdrawal agreement the Brexit would automatically follow on 30 March 2019 and the country would be standing right on the cliff-edge. The governor of the Bank of England estimates that...

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    UK government plans to facilitate the establishment of works councils

    On 17 December 2018, the UK government department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) presented the "Good Work Plan", a comprehensive program for the future of the job market and labour law. Whereas conservative governments in the past have generally restricted employee rights, this plan does provide a series of improvements. The numerous measures announced include...

     

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    Labour shortage favours higher wages in Czechia

    Over 1.300 trade unionists met on 11 September 2018 in Prague (photo) to prepare for the forthcoming round of collective bargaining. Their objective is a wage increase of between 7 and 9%, a reduction in the weekly working hours from 40 to 37.5 as well as five weeks annual paid vacation. The latter two points have already been implemented in three quarters of all companies and are now...

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    End of the austerity proves surprisingly successful in Portugal

    A socialist minority government supported by the Greens, and the communist and left-wing parties has been in power in this crisis-struck EU country since November 2015. In the wake of the international rescue action in 2011 and by order of the EU Troika, the previous conservative government had undertaken hard austerity measures and cutbacks in welfare. Dismissals were made easier, severance compensation decreased...

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    Draft Bill for employee participation in the USA

    The "Accountable Capitalism Act" is a draft bill that was introduced before the United States Senate on 15 August 2018. It aims at imposing greater social responsibility on corporate governance and explicitly refers to the experience in Germany with codetermination. The bill was put forward by Elizabeth Warren, who has been representing the Federal State of Massachusetts in the US Senate since 2013 and belongs to...

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    British Labour Party plans employee shares and codetermination


    John McDonnell, the shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer in the House of Commons, announced a new concept of Corporate Governance on 24 September 2018 at the Labour Party congress held in Liverpool. If the Labour Party were to win the next elections, they would oblige all British companies with more than 250 employees to convert 1% of its share capital every year into employee shares, up to a total of 10%...

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    Annual EWC basics seminar in Montabaur Castle

    From 28 to 31 August 2018, employee representatives from eleven companies, including six with headquarters in the USA, examined ways of improving the functioning of their European works councils. The seminar agenda included labour relations in the largest EU Member States, the process of a consultation procedure and a set of practical case studies. This introductory seminar organized every year since 2009 will be held again from 23 to 26 April 2019...

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    Merger in aviation and aerospace industry

    The two European works council steering committees of UTC Aerospace Systems and Rockwell Collins held a meeting together for the first time on 10 and 11 October 2018 in Birmingham to discuss the forthcoming merger of the two U.S. companies. The different options were discussed with support from the EWC Academy...

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    EWC workshop for Switzerland's largest insurance company

    The steering committee of Zurich Insurance Group's European Forum met from 26 to 28 September 2018 at the company headquarters in the Swiss financial metropolis. Representatives from eight countries with the largest workforce meet each quarter to discuss current developments with central management. After several changes in personnel, half of the steering committee have only recently taken office...

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    Italian insurance EWC faced with generation change

    The EWC Academy gave a training for German EWC members of Generali on 31 October 2018 covering the organization of a correct information and consultation procedure and the main characteristics of Italian EWC law. The seminar took place at the academy of its subsidiary, AachenMünchener located in the park grounds of Bensberg Castle near Cologne. In the near future Generali's EWC...

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    SE conversion with obstacles

    The Special Negotiating Body for the construction holding Köster held its constitutional meeting on 17 December 2018 in Osnabrück. This growing family business wishes to avoid any employee participation on the Holding´s supervisory board by using the SE legal form. In the opinion of works council members the threshold of 2,000 employees in Germany has already been exceeded and an escape from codetermination...

 

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