Strabag was a pioneer in realising the new opportunities provided by European legislation. The SE legislation came into force on 4 October 2004 and Strabag SE was registered in Austria on 12 October 2004. In accordance with the law, an agreement on future workers’ involvement was presented to the court of registration. Although heavily criticised, at least by the German and Belgium building workers’ trade unions, SE registration was accepted. Strabag was the first major company operating cross-border in Europe – and also to a considerable extent in the new member states – which accepted the obligatory board-level representation of workers by maintaining the existing two-tier system. Today, 32 per cent of the company’s employees are in the new member states or candidate countries such as Croatia and Serbia, all of whom are covered by the agreement. Strabag SE opened up a new chapter of workers’ involvement for these workers in particular.
The conflict concerning the SE agreement was resolved by renegotiation in 2006, triggered by the major acquisition of a German building company, which increased the number of employees from around 33,000 to around 53,000. This was regarded as a structural change requiring renegotiation of the agreement. Now, three out of eight members of the supervisory board are workers’ representatives, for the time being all from Austria. It has been agreed to maintain the workers’ board-level presence also in the case of a structural change of company governance from a two-tier to a one-tier system.