EU consultation Directive incorporated in DA-LO cooperation agreement

In February 2004, the Confederation of Danish Trade Unions (LO) and Danish Employers' Confederation (DA) agreed to incorporate the 2002 EU information and consultation Directive into their existing cooperation agreement. The main effect is that company-level cooperation committees must in future consult all staff groups and not only those covered by a DA-LO collective agreement.

In early February 2004, Hans Jensen, the president of the Confederation of Danish Trade Unions (Landsorganisationen i Danmark, LO), and Jørn Neergaard Larsen, the managing director of the Danish Employers' Confederation (Dansk Arbejdsgiverforening, DA), signed an agreement on the incorporation of EU Directive (2002/14/EC) establishing a general framework for informing and consulting employees (EU0204207F) into the existing cooperation agreement between LO and DA. This agreement currently covers around 50% of the Danish labour force in the private sector.

The implementation of the Directive via the DA-LO cooperation agreement means that company-level joint cooperation committees (DK0309102T) will now have a duty to consult all groups of employees in the enterprise and not only those who are covered by a collective agreement between LO and DA member organisations. It is further clarified that it should be possible for employee groups outside LO to obtain representation in the cooperation committee if there is consensus about such representation.

In line with the Directive, the cooperation agreement will now provide that employees must be informed and consulted on: the development of the undertaking's activities and economic situation; the situation, structure and probable development of employment; and decisions likely to lead to substantial changes in work organisation or in working and employment conditions. This does not represent a significant change from the the provisions of the existing cooperation agreement. What is new is that employee groups outside LO may now obtain representation in company cooperation committees as members. This has until now been reserved for LO member unions, and LO has had mixed feelings about this extension of representation.

In a broader perspective, LO believes that, in the context of the upcoming enlargement of the EU in May 2004, the implementation of the Directive in central and eastern European countries will be an important instrument in efforts to involve workers in these countries in trade union activities. According to LO, the fact that employee representatives in central and eastern Europe will be given access to more information in individual enterprises will also give European Works Councils a better framework for their trade union activities.

LO also sees the new agreement as an important step in using the DA-LO cooperation agreement as an instrument to implement future EU Directives which concern relations between management and employees in individual enterprises (DK0212105F). DA has not publicly expressed its views on the agreement.

EU Member States have until March 2005 to comply with the Directive's requirements.

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