Special negotiating body
A special negotiating body (SNB) is a body comprising employee representatives from a number of Member States responsible for negotiating (a) an agreement establishing a European Works Councils (EWC), under the terms of the 1994 EWC Directive (Directive 94/45/EC), or (b) a similar representative body in a European Company (SE), as stipulated by Directive 2001/86/EC supplementing the European Company Statute with regard to the involvement of employees.
In the first case, once the EWC is established and a meeting convened, the SNB ‘shall have the task of determining, with the central management of the enterprise, by written agreement, the scope, composition, functions, and term of office of the European Works Councils or the arrangements for implementing a procedure for the information and consultation of employees’ (Article 5(3)). Article 6(1) provides that ‘The central management and the SNB must negotiate in a spirit of cooperation with a view to reaching an agreement’. Where no agreement is made, or if the parties so choose, requirements stipulated in an annex to the directive will come into force. However, the thrust of the directive is to enable and encourage central management and the SNB to agree on the form and operation of the EWC themselves.
In the second case – the SE – an agreement between the SNB and the management of the SE is concerned to set up a ‘representative body’ similar to an EWC or an information and consultation procedure. If they decide (and this is compulsory in some cases), the agreement may also set out the rules for board-level participation. In SEs established by transformation, the agreement must provide for at least the same level of employee involvement as existed within the company being transformed. If no agreement is reached, or the parties so decide, a statutory set of ‘standard rules’ applies providing for a standard ‘representative body.’