After 10 years of attempts to amend the EWC directive (94/45/EC) on 16 May 2009 the European Commission announced a revised recast directive 2009/38/EC. The new directive – adopted in April 2009 – is the outcome of an intense legislative process that took place throughout 2008.
In 2018 the publication of the official report on implementation of the EWC Recast Directive by the European Commission marks what is expected to be a begining of another stage in the improvement of their legal framework.
After an initial lack of compromise among the Social Partners concerning negotiations they managed to break the deadlock and agreed upon Joint Advice (29 August 2008). The Joint Advice facilitated political compromise on the issue and served as an informal indication for the European Parliament in preparing its position. Following a tight coordination between the works of the European Parliament and the Council it was possible to adopt the EP's report on the 16/12/2008 in the first reading. Subsequently, on 23 April 2009 the Council adopted a revised directive on European Works Councils (EWCs).
The most important changes in the recast directive 2009/38/EC relate to:
Inclusion of a definition of information
Improvement of the definition of consultation
Inclusion of a definition of transnationality and clarification of the transnational competence of EWCs
Link between various levels of employee information and consultation
Employers' obligation to provide EWC members with training
Facilities provided to the SNB, such as pre and post meetings, the presence of experts –including trade union members- in the negotiation meetings
Obligation to inform the European social partners of negotiations (= recognition of the role of the European social partners)
Mandate for the employee reps in the EWC to collectively represent the employees and obligation for the management to provide the EWC with means necessary to perform this function
Some changes were made also in regard to the Subsidiary Requirements (concept of consultation, explanation to EWC of grounds for managments decline of EWCs opinion, the composition of EWCs, number of Select Committee members)
Chronological overview of (selected) stages of the EWC revision process