Community law ofInformation and Consultation Isabelle Schömann European Trade Union Institute for Research, Education and Health and Safety http://www.etui-rehs.org
Community law on information and consultation:Brief overview • Background • Fragmented mechanism • Difficult linkage of the various levels of information and consultation • Brief overview of the main clauses of the Directive 2002/14/EC • Progress with the transposition of Directive 2002/14/EC • European initiatives: Review process towards the necessary harmonization? • EU Parliament v. EU Commission: action v. ‘wait and see policy’
Background: Long-standing collective right • At European level: the principle of Community law Art. 21 European Social Charter (1961/1996), Point 17 Community Charter of Fundamental Social Rights (1989) • Art. 27 Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (2000): ‘Workers or their representatives must, at the appropriate levels, be guaranteed information and consultation in good time in the cases and under the conditions provided for by Community law and national laws and practices’. Article 6, Treaty on European Union:The Union recognises the rights, freedoms and principles set out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union of 7 December 2000, as adapted at Strasbourg, on 12 December 2007, which shall have the same legal value as the Treaties.
Background: Long-standing collective right • Long-standing law in continental Europe • Universal legal basis • Information and consultation are general, permanent and binding • Monistic model: trade union / dualistic model: elected and trade union representation • Major innovation in the common law countries • Voluntary model • Minimalist legal basis stemming from Community law => CJEC, C-382 and 383/92: staff representation is compulsory
Fragmented Community law • Directive 89/391/EEC: Health and safety of workers Art. 10 +11 • Directive 98/59/EC: Collective redundancies – Art. 2 • Directive 94/45/EC (2009/38/EC): European Works Councils – Art. 2f • Directive 2001/23/EC: Transfers of undertakings – Art. 7 • Directive 2001/86/EC: Statuts of the SE – Art. 2h + 2i • Directive 2002/14/EC: Information – consultation • Directive 2003/72/EC: European cooperative society • Directive 2004/25/EC: Takeover bids – Art. 14 • Directive 2005/19/EC: Mergers, divisions, transfers of assets and exchanges of shares – Art. 10 • Directive 2005/56/EC: Cross-border mergers – Art. 16
Fragmented Community law Difficult linkage of the various levels of information and consultation and different branches of Community law depending on the situation of the undertaking in time, in space Difficult linkage between national law and Community law Legal gaps in national law
Community law on information and consultation: Objectives • Generalisation of the obligation upon the Member States to provide for an effective, permanent and regular worker information and consultation procedure • On the recent and probable evolution of • the undertaking’s activities, • its financial and economic situation, • employment and specifically the decisions likely to bring about major changes to the organisation of work.
SYNDICAT SYNDICAT CES CES UNION GEWERKSCHAFT UNION GEWERKSCHAFT Community law on information and consultation Context works councilcomité d’entrepriseBetriebsrat
Community law on information and consultation:A long and arduous way to pass the legislative act • COM(95)547: unbalanced level of protection in the Member States (good time; content of the information, purpose of the consultation, no deterrent sanctions, etc) • Consultation of the social partners in June and November 1997: diverging opinions • The Renault Vilvorde case: Summary redundancies without complying with the consultation procedures in February 1997 / legal action in Belgium and France /signature of an amendment to the agreement on 6 March 1998 • Draft Directive in November 1998 – Blocking minority in 2000 • Arbitration between European Parliament and European Council 2002 > Directive 2002/14/EC
Community law on information and consultation Directive 2002/14/EC: main clauses • A general statutory framework for informing and consulting employees in the European Union: effective, permanent and regular 20 20 20 Public or private undertakings carrying out an economic activity, whether or not operating for gain, located within the territory of the Member States 50
Community law on information and consultation Directive 2002/14/EC: main clauses information • transmission by the employer to the employees' representatives of data in order to enable them to acquaint themselves with the subject matter and to examine it • at such time, in such fashion and with such content as are appropriate to enable,employees' representatives to conduct an adequate study and, where necessary, prepare for consultation consultation • exchange of views and establishment of dialogue between the employees' representatives and the employer. • in such a way as to enable employees' representatives to meet the employer and obtain a reasoned response,to any opinion they might formulate; • with a view to reaching an agreement on decisions
Community law on information and consultation Directive 2002/14/EC: main clauses Situation, structure and probable development of employment within the undertaking and on any anticipatory measures envisaged, in particular where there is a threat to employment Recent and probable development of the undertaking's activities and economic situation Confidential information decisions likely to lead to substantial changes in work organisation or in contractual relations modalités pratiquesprotection, procedures, sanctions, works council, members... Legal transposition Acts and In accordance with the procedures and practices of management and labour in the members states
Community law on information and consultationTransposition of Directive 2002/14/EC
Community law on information and consultationTransposition of Directive 2002/14/EC: pro and cons • Added values • catalyst for change towards more participative and dialogue oriented relations between managment and labour • Recognition of employee representation at the work place • Involvement of trade unions and employers associations in the transpostion phase • Allows for adaptation to the national systems of IC • Deficits • Transposition a minima-attempt to reduce effectiveness • By-pass unions towards direct information with individuals • Introduce additional triggering mechanisms – abuse of thresholds • No dissuasive sanctions – no clear definition of confidentiality
The 2002/14/EC Directive allowed considerable flexibility in transposition and implementation. Directive as a key tool in allowing EC law to become embedded in the national legal and industrial relations systems, Thus made it possible for the British social systems to respond in an innovative way to the changing forms of employee representation. Weakness: Nature of the legal obligations, Enforcement mechanism and Degree to which legal resources could be utilised by trade unions Community law on information and consultation: Objectives – impact UK 19
Community law on information and consultation Review process Consultation on cross-border transfers Consultation on restructuring operations Rolling programme simplification (2006-2009) EWC Recast directive 2009/38/EC European Commission implementation report 23 March 2007 Review deadline EU Parliament resolution EU Parliament resolution 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
CONCLUSION • The indispensable and sometimes the only basis for workers’ right to information and consultation. • Generalisation of worker representation • Limits: without as such including SMEs Recourse to direct representation Transposition ‘a minima’ Difficult linkage between the different levels Future initiative: What harmonization of rights to information and consultation in the European Union?