The idea of workers' information, consultation and participation has been thus slowly evolving into a more encompassing concept of democracy at work. The ETUC gave expression of this evolution "part of a broader approach for a more Social Europe which is urgently needed." (ETUC 2019 website and 2019 brochure on more democracy at work).

The ETUI provided a broad overview and analysis of the concept of democracy at work in its latest 2019 edition of Benchmarking Working Europe (Chapter 4 "Democracy at work")

Democracy at work and its impact on other spheres of society at large, economy and company performance is a particularly pertinent aspect of discussions about democracy at large, new social contract and the necessity to rethink capitalism. Chapter 4 of the Benchmarking Working Europe report brings together interesting data from various areas to show that workplace democracy is linked with increased participation in democratic life, more equal societies, higher wages and better work-life balance, to name only a few.

There, we present the forms of democracy at work:

BM 2019 Democracy at work forms

Source: Benchmarking Working Europe 2019 (infographic by R.Jagodzinski, 2019 © ETUI).

...and the impact along with benefits which democracy at work and information, consultation and participation exert:

BM 2019 democracy at work impact infographic

Source: Benchmarking Working Europe 2019 (infographic by R.Jagodzinski, 2019 © ETUI).

For many of the above reasons, and supplementary ones, numerous leading thinkers, researchers and politicians of the 20th and 21st century have spoken in favour of democracy at work:

Quotes democracy at work

Source: Benchmarking Working Europe 2019 (infographic by R.Jagodzinski, 2019 © ETUI).

Further resources:


Latest developments
Information and Consultation Information and Consultation

The rights pertaining to information and consultation of the workforce under Community law are currently some of the most fragmented in the EU legislative body. In total, more than 15 directives deal with information and consultation in some kind of a general or specific sense. Currently four major European directives form part of the social acquis in this regard: the directive on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work (89/391/EC), the directive on European works councils (2009/38/EC); the directive on employee involvement in the European Company (2001/86/EC), and the European framework directive on information and consultation (2002/14/EC). Besides this general frame, a range of directives secure the right of information and consultation of workers in specific situations, such as in case of collective redundancies (98/59/EC) , transfer of undertaking (2001/23/EC).


Zane Rasnaca

Researcher, ETUItel + 32 2 224 07


Board-level employee representation (Participation) Participation

The right of employees or their representatives to elect or appoint some members of a company's supervisory or administrative organ, or the right to recommend and/or oppose the appointment of some or all of the members of these boards represents the third element of the `European trias of worker involvement rights`: information, consultation and (board-level) participation.

For more information on board-level representation rights in Europe visit the following sections on our website:




Sara Lafuente-HernandezResearch Officer ETUITel. 0032 (0)2

Aline Conchon Board-level employee representation rights in Europe ETUI Report 121

Free download (pdf)




Legal Texts

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The type of labour needed by European companies – skilled, mobile, committed, responsible, and capable of using technical innovations and of identifying with the obj ective of increasing competitiveness and quality – cannot be expected simply to obey the employers' instructions. Workers must be closely and permanently involved in decision-making at all levels of the company .

Final report of the `High-level expert group on workers’ involvement` (Davignon group), 1997

Infogrphic Porto Labour 2030 conference democracy at workConference poster presenting the forms, the impact and a conceptual model for analysis of democracy at work.

Authors: R. Jagodzinski and Sara Lafuente-Hernandez, 2019 © ETUI.

Presented at: II Labour 2030 Congress on the Future of Work, Porto, 19-20 September, 2020.