European Works Councils

The emergence of European Works Councils (EWCs) represents a major innovation in transnational industrial relations institution-building. Since 1994, the Foundation has been monitoring the creation and operation of EWCs as an important part of the development of an industrial relations system at European level. Studies and comparative reports as well as a number of case studies were carried out with a view to describing how European Works Councils function in reality.

Assessing some of the main developments and experiences associated with EWCs and providing reports on the impact of European works councils on industrial relations, both within multinational companies and in Member States' national systems is one of the Foundation ongoing monitoring activities.

Latest research activities

Two research activities on European works councils started in 2005.

The experience of EWCs in the new Member States

The research focused on developments in new Member States and analysed experience of EWCs in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia through case studies. It drew on the work conducted between 2001 and 2004 on the functioning of EWCs in practice. It also identified factors likely to favour or obstruct EWC development, and paid particular attention to issues arising from enlargement. The final report is available.

EWCs and transnational restructuring

This second research activity focused on the influence of EWCs on the handling of transnational restructuring. It analysed EWC agreements and relevant joint texts as well as data and findings from different relevant resources. An overview of the “state of the art” aimed at highlighting the factors that play an important role in favouring or hindering the meaningful involvement of EWCs in transnational corporate restructuring. The final report is available.

The preliminary results of both studies were discussed in a research workshop on 19-20 June 2006 in Warsaw.


For further information on EWCs or related issues please contact: Stavroula Demetriades or Christian Welz