transfer2The European Company Statute came into force in EU Member States in October 2004. The associated Directive on employee involvement in European Companies (SEs) is the first time European legislation has recognised employee board-level participation. This issue of Transfer examines such participation, the importance of the SE Directive and its implications for industrial relations and corporate governance in Europe.

The various contributors examine the history of employee board-level participation in Europe and the current position following the transposition of the SE Directive into national legislation, as well as European company law directives and how these affect the interests of workers. The issue also publishes the initial results of a survey of employee board-level representatives from nine EU Member States. An article on the European Metalworkers Federation’s binding guidelines for negotiations on the establishment of an SE highlights the need not just to export any particular national system of participation to the European level but rather to create a new European solution. This issue is a timely contribution to the current debates on corporate governance within the EU and on the merits of the German system of co-determination.

Table of contents: Robert Taylor: Industrial democracy and the European traditions Norbert Kluge: Corporate governance with co-determination – a key element of the European social model Robbert van het Kaar: Company law and workers’ interests Ulke Veersma and Sjef Swinkels: Participation in European Companies: views from social partners in three Member States Luc Triangle: Workers’ involvement in the European Company – the SE Guidelines of the European Metalworkers Federation Kevin O’Kelly: A European project for employee board-level representatives: issues, roles and responsibilities Mark Carley: Board-level employee representatives in nine countries: a snapshot