The company works council is an organ of the works constitution that must be formed in companies where there are several establishment works councils (Works Constitution Act & 47). The individual works councils are not subordinate to it. It is responsible for dealing with matters which concern the company as a whole or more than one establishment and so cannot be regulated at establishment level. Its functions also include appointing the members of the economic committee , matters connected with the employee representatives on the supervisory board , and the formation of a group works council . Lastly, individual works councils can delegate to the company works council those of their co-determination rights which otherwise, owing to the insufficient number of employees in individual establishments of a company, would not be exercised by the works councils concerned. Individual works councils that are composed exclusively of either white-collar or manual worker representatives appoint a single delegate to the company works council; otherwise, they appoint two. Single delegates are chosen by the works council as a whole, and where there are two they are chosen by the white-collar and the manual worker representatives respectively ( group-based election ). The same election procedure is followed for the substitute delegates. In principle the size of the company works council depends on how many individual works councils the company has, but different rules may be adopted by collective agreement or works agreement .

The company works council elects from among its members a chairperson and vice-chairperson, one of whom must be a white-collar delegate and the other a manual worker delegate. These represent the council in dealings with third parties. The council takes its decisions by majority vote; in this procedure single delegates from the works councils have as many votes as there are employees entered on the list of electors in the establishment concerned, and the same principle applies to the separate white-collar and manual worker delegates respectively. If the respective employee groups send several delegates to the company works council, they each have a proportional share of that group's votes. The council forms a works council executive committee consisting of its chairperson, vice-chairperson and a number of additional members. In accordance with the principle of protection of minorities each group must be represented on this company works council executive committee. The company works council is not capable of possessing assets, and the employer bears the costs of its activities.

Please note: the European industrial relations glossaries were compiled between 1991 and 2003 and are not updated. For current material see the European industrial relations dictionary.