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

Mass exodus to Irish EWC jurisdiction

Brexit reveals a poor transposition of the EWC Directive in Ireland → more

Brexit and European Works Councils

The legal situation since January 2021 → more

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

From 31 August - 3 September 2021, Montabaur Castle, close to Frankfurt International Airport → Programme

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
  • Legal opinions on EWC and SE disputes
  • 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 292 companies which represents around 25 % of all currently existing transnational works councils in Europe.




Up-to-date News
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    Brexit reveals a poor transposition of EWC Directive in Ireland

    Prior to the Brexit, Ireland played only a minor role in the landscape of European works councils. A total of only eleven companies with headquarters in the Republic had so far established a European works council, along with another 36 non-Irish corporations which had established their EWC there long before Brexit...

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    From British to Irish law: management can decide unilaterally

    On 18 January 2021, the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) in London dismissed a complaint by Verizon's European works council. The US telecommunications company had switched from British to Irish jurisdiction on 20 October 2020 following the expiry of the previous EWC agreement. As negotiations on a new agreement had previously failed to produce any result...

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    Obligation for constant availability in the home office to be prohibited

    On 21 January 2021, the European Parliament demanded by a majority of 472 votes to 126 with 83 abstentions that employees should no longer have to be available around the clock. A new EU Directive is to set minimum requirements for teleworking, e.g. working hours and rest periods, as well as a right to disconnect...

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    New EU directive aims to reinforce equal pay

    On 4 March 2021, the European Commission presented a proposal for a Pay Transparency Directive to ensure that women and men receive equal pay for equal work across the EU. It includes two key elements to reinforce equal pay: measures on pay transparency...

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    Supply chain law is on its way

    On 10 March 2021, 504 MEPs (with 79 votes against and 112 abstentions) called for EU legislation to make companies legally responsible if they violate or contribute to violations of human rights, environmental standards and good governance within their global supply chain. They should provide for due diligence and identify and remedy any negative impact on both human rights and environment...

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    Federal Labour Court: Crowdworkers are considered to be employees in Germany

    On 1 December 2020, for the first time, the highest courts classified a crowdworker who was micro-tasking on the platform "Roamler" as an employee. The plaintiff from Wesel, a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, was working in field marketing, controlling the presentation of goods and advertising posters in supermarkets and...

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    Revolutionary turning point for workers' rights in the digital world

    These are the words used by the Italian trade union CGIL to describe a ruling by the Bologna labour court on 31 December 2020 against the delivery service Deliveroo. The British company, which uses self-employed bike couriers to deliver food orders, was declared to have violated workers' rights and to have discriminated against them...

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    Historic decision of the Supreme Court in London

    On 19 February 2021, the UK Supreme Court ended a years-long dispute over the status of Uber drivers. The US passenger transport company considered drivers to be independent contractors and not employees. This had already been contradicted by three lower courts and now the last instance court decision has fallen...

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    Further developments in the platform economy

    On 30 January 2021, the Dutch delivery service, Just Eat Takeaway, announced plans to transform its business model in France. Over the course of 2021, 4,500 bicycle couriers in 30 cities across the country will be given permanent employment contracts with social security and an hourly wage of 10.30 €. While other delivery services continue to treat deliverers as...

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    Safeguarding workers' rights is a priority for the UK government

    With this argument, the Department of Trade and Industry published on 31 December 2020 a list of 139 companies that violated their obligation to pay the statutory minimum wage between 2016 and 2018. In total, 95,000 workers were underpaid by the amount of 6.7 million £ (7.4 million €). This was mainly due to wage deductions for working clothes, training or parking fees...

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    Dismissal of EWC vice-chairperson declared null and void

    On 13 October 2020, the Supreme Court in Madrid ruled on the question of whether an EWC member may be dismissed for passing on confidential information from the European Works Council to works councils in Spain. The US company IBM had fired the EWC vice-chairwoman without notice, which the judges...

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    US computer manufacturer loses legal battle against its EWC

    On 2 December 2020, the London Central Arbitration Committee (CAC), the first instance in UK EWC law, ruled that HP Inc. central management had not sufficiently informed the EWC of 349 job cuts. On 7 May 2020, the EWC held an extraordinary video conference during which central management had provided only superficial documentation...

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    Fair minimum wage for the Czech Republic

    Since 2016, there has been an informal discussion platform on a needs assessment for a fair minimum decent wage involving 22 academics and trade unionists in Prague. Among them is former Prime Minister and EU Commissioner for Social Affairs Vladimír Špidla. For the year 2020, the resulting figures to cover the costs of a decent living standard amount to...

     

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    All suppliers to pay fair living wage

    On 21 January 2021, Unilever became one of the first global corporations to announce that it will only work with suppliers who pay decent living wages according to the conditions in each country. By 2030, the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company aims to implement the plan, which has the potential to change the lives of...

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    Scottish Supreme Court bans Fire and Rehire tactics

    On 12 February 2021, the USDAW union won an injunction against the supermarket chain Tesco in the Court of Session in Edinburgh. The court prohibited the company from escaping a collective bargaining agreement at its Livingston distribution centre in central Scotland. The 290 workers employed there were to be dismissed and...

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    Control of subsidiaries through financial budgets is an issue for the EWC

    On 5 March 2021, the European works council of Adecco won a case before the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) in London. The central management of the Swiss HR provider and temporary staffing firm had neither informed the EWC about planned mass redundancies nor disclosed any business figures for individual countries...

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    Spanish EWC secretary allowed to inform Spanish workforce

    On 25 March 2021, the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) in London ruled that the exclusion of the employee representatives´ spokesperson on the Alliance Healthcare EWC from meetings with management must end. He had used critical language to inform his country's workforce about an outsourcing project and...

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    Swiss Airport Service Company establishes EWC in Ireland

    On 15 December 2020, after just over three years of negotiations, an EWC agreement was concluded for Swissport based on Irish law. With 45,600 employees at 300 airports, it is the largest ground handling service provider in the world, based near Zurich airport. The Corona crisis has hit the company hard...

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    US packaging company establishes EWC under French law

    Shortly before the end of the three-year negotiation period, an EWC agreement for AptarGroup was signed electronically on 5 March 2021. The US company produces packaging for cosmetics, food and the pharmaceutical industry. The EWC represents 7,800 workers in six EU countries and the UK, including 4,700 in France and 2,000 in Germany...

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    Hessian family business avoids co-determination completely

    Viessmann, a manufacturer of heating and cooling systems with 12,300 employees worldwide, converted important parts of the firm into a European Company (SE) in two stages. On 28 August 2020, an SE employee participation agreement was concluded at the company's headquarters in Allendorf (North Hesse) and Viessmann Climate Solutions SE was registered...

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    Consultancy Company last minute escape from co-determination

    On 22 October 2020, the umlaut SE was registered in the company register of Aachen. This owner-managed business with 4,500 staff worldwide provides technology and implementation advice for mobile phone networks, aviation, the automotive industry, energy supply and telemedicine. The number of 1,987 employees in Germany, was just below the 2,000 threshold to introduce a full-parity co-determination...

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    Chemical trading group from the Ruhr region operating as an SE

    Since 1 February 2021, Brenntag with 17,500 staff worldwide has been operating as an SE. After ten months of negotiations, an SE participation agreement was signed on 20 November 2020 for almost 7,000 employees in 25 European countries. Until now, the Essen-based company had 1,800 employees in Germany without one-third participation on the supervisory board...

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    Spanish clothing chain commits to socially responsible digitalisation

    On 21 December 2020, the central management of Inditex published a joint declaration on digitalization together with its European works council. Inditex is one of the world's largest textile companies and operates fashion stores such as Zara, Bershka, Pull & Bear or Massimo Dutti. Sales have fallen sharply due to shop closures during the Corona lockdown...

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    British insurance company facing break-up

    On 12 January 2021, the European works council of the RSA Insurance Group rendered a positive opinion on its proposed takeover by a Canadian-Danish consortium. The UK's second largest insurer, with a long history dating back to 1710, has 13,500 employees mainly concentrated in Ireland, Scandinavia and Canada. RSA has been up for sale for some time...

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    French construction group aims to reinforce environmental protection

    On 6 November 2020, Vinci's CEO and the European works council secretary signed group-wide environmental guidelines for all 222,000 employees in 110 countries. The world's second largest construction group recently hit the headlines in March 2019 due to the pollution of the Seine river by a concrete plant...

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    First international framework agreement in the lift and escalator industry

    On 25 November 2020, a global framework agreement on fundamental principles and labour and union rights was signed between the central management of the German Thyssenkrupp Elevator company and the Global Industrial Trade Union (industriALL) in Geneva, IG Metall and the German group works council. It provides for the establishment of health and...

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    British fashion retailer seeks to minimise impact of Corona crisis

    On 23 February 2021, ASOS management jointly reaffirmed with the Global Industrial Trade Union in Geneva (industriALL) its commitment to contribute to the recovery of the textile industry and the safety of workers in the supply chain. At the start of the Corona pandemic...

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    European Works Council from France presents its work

    The EWC of the cooperative banking group Crédit Agricole has its own website. It has existed since 2008 with 22 delegates from 14 countries, including twelve from France. The French text on the website can be translated into various languages via a button at the very bottom of the homepage...

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    Google workers form union

    On 4 January 2021, the formation of a trade union for Google's parent company Alphabet, with an initial membership of 800, was announced and a dedicated website launched. This is a result of the campaign to organise workers in the technology, gaming and digital industries in the US and Canada, launched a year earlier...

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    Cross-border cooperation on the posting of workers

    The construction industry is particularly concerned by the posting of mostly Eastern European workers to Western Europe. The aim of the EU-sponsored ISA project is to promote cooperation and exchange of information between authorities and stakeholders in different countries in order to...

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    Trade union website on the European Pillar of Social Rights

    The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) in Brussels presents on a new website in 24 languages its positions on the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, which was proclaimed at an EU Social Summit in November 2017. The Pillar contains twenty principles for fair, well-functioning labour markets and...

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    Protecting whistleblowers: practical guide to the EU Directive

    On 3 December 2020, the European trade union federation for Professional and Managerial staff, Eurocadres, in cooperation with the UK-based Protect Foundation, launched a whistleblowing guide in six languages. An EU directive to protect people who report breaches of the law and misconduct was adopted in October 2019...

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    EWC basic seminar under Corona conditions

    From 20 to 23 October 2020, the annual introductory seminar took place at Montabaur Castle. The originally planned date in April 2020 had to be postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Although a number of registered participants cancelled at short notice for this alternative date, a small group of EWC members...

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    SE fundamental issue on its way to the Federal Labour Court

    On 29 October 2020, the Hamburg State Employment Court rejected the application of the German Group works council of Olympus to establish a Special Negotiating Body. The central management of the Japanese group is resisting both the establishment of an SE works council and a European works council...

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    German co-determination system in English

    At the beginning of July 2020, the Hans Böckler Foundation presented an English-language guide for newcomers to the German system of industrial relations. A previous version was first published in October 2000 and updated several times. A completely revised version is now available. The guide is aimed at non-Germans encountering co-determination for the first time...

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    Recent interview and news article on co-determination avoidance

    The December 2020 issue of the monthly magazine "Arbeitsrecht im Betrieb" (Labour Law in the Workplace) contains an interview under the heading of "EWC Act requires improvement". In it, the managing director of the EWC Academy expresses his opinion on the question of what European works councils can expect from German labour courts...

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    Danish building-materials merchant starts EWC negotiations

    The Special Negotiating Body (SNB) of the Stark Group held its constituent meeting on 2 and 3 September 2020 in Copenhagen. With 10,000 employees, it is one of the largest building materials merchants in Scandinavia and is owned by a US financial investor. The meeting took place in a hotel as a face-to-face meeting...

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    Legal action against US pharmaceutical wholesaler for sanctioning the EWC Secretary

    On 8 October 2020 the EWC employee representatives of Alliance Healthcare filed a complaint against the central management before the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) in London, the first instance for labour disputes under UK EWC law. The spokesperson for the employee representatives (i.e. the EWC secretary) from Spain had informed the workforce...

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    The importance of face-to-face meetings

    Spacial distancing during the coronavirus pandemic is threatening to lead to a loss of emotional foundations on which all professional cooperation is based, warned a management consultancy firm. This certainly applies even more to employee representatives than to managers who are integrated into a hierarchy...

 

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