EurWORK European Observatory of Working Life

Company union

A company union is a trade union created and/or controlled by the company itself, which responds to its own interests instead of those of the workers. In some countries, it is referred to as a ‘yellow’ union. Companies use this form of union to take control of works councils as a means of eliminating conflicts and ensuring that measures are approved without opposition.

The International Labour Organization prohibits the establishment of such unions (ILO Convention 98, article 2). Furthermore, in terms of EU regulation, company unions infringe Directive 2002/14/EC:

When defining or implementing practical arrangements for information and consultation, the employer and the employees’ representatives shall work in a spirit of cooperation and with due regard for their reciprocal rights and obligations, taking into account the interests both of the undertaking or establishment and of the employees.

However, in some EU countries, such as Denmark, the number of members of company unions have been growing; examples of such cases include Krifa and Det Faglige Hus.

See also: employee representation European works councils freedom of association information and consultation trade unions.

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