On 25-26 February 2016 the ETUI's unit 'Europeanisation of industrial relations' organised a workshop focused on taking stock of the existing research on the impact of and of relevance for the changes introduced by the EWC workshop Recast 2016Recast Directive on European Works Councils.

The workshop was attended by top experts and academics in the field and provided for a much needed overview of EWC research completed and ongoing in the past 5-8 years.

The workshop was opened by Wolfgang Kowalsky from the ETUC giving an overview of the current political context in the run-up to the expected publication of an implementation study on the EWC Recast Directive and the official review process of this legislation.

It was followed by two days of presentations by leading experts in the field sharing outcomes relevant for informed policy making and exchanging views on the gaps the research world has still to cover to fully understand the complexities and drivers shaping the practice of EWCs. The research presented in the workshop and topics discussed covered, among others, the impact of the Recast Directive on:

  • the number of EWCs - has there been the boost in population of EWCs the Recast Directive was aiming for?

  • the renegotiation and quality of EWC agreements (case studies)

  • the challenge of articulation (linking) between various levels of information and consultation (European, local, national) in its horizontal and vertical dimension

  • EWCs as collective interest representation: what importance for articulation, what means needed, what challenges? Are EWCs equipped and capable of meeting the challenge?

  • the capacity of EWCs to handle restructuring

  • practical limitations in EWC work: the cultural, solidarity, industrial relations traditions and language barieers

  • EWCs in central and eastern Europe - what specific characteristics, what commonalities with the rest of the EU

  • case studies on EWCs in particular national contexts (Portugal)

  • the transnational competence of EWCs: needs for improvement, challenges, expectations

  • involvement of EWCs into transnational company agreements - a chance, threat or trap for EWCs?

  • collective identity of EWCs as the foundation of effective functioning.

Each panel sparked off rich discussion and lively exchange among the participants.

The ETUI would like to thank all participants personally and their institutions for making it possible to meet during this event: Hans Boeckler Stiftung, AIAS Amsterdam, Universite Catholique de Louvain (BE), University of Manchester (UK), University of Cumbria (Portugal), CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research), The Dublin Foundation (Eurofound), Fondazione Marco Biaggi.