Commission - Move forward with revision of the EWC Directive ! Say EPSU EWC Coordinators

(31 October 2007) The EPSU group welcomed the announcement of the European Commission that it will propose amendments to the EWC Directive. The Commission included the revision of the Directive in its work programme for 2008. The EPSU EWC Coordinators urge the Commission to come forward quickly and with substantial improvements to the Directive. The revision is long overdue and should have been proposed in 1999 already. BusinessEurope is mounting a campaign to dissuade the Commission from moving forward. All experience demonstrates however the importance of improving information and consultation rights for example for workers and companies to deal more effectively with restructuring and management of change. The use of experts, additional meetings and the possibility to consider alternatives are key issues that need to be addressed. Romuald Jagodzinski of ETUI named a number of companies which have acclaimed CSR policies which should have established and EWC but which have not done so.

Other issues considered:

- Bart Samyn, European Metal Federation presented the internal rules of the EMF regarding negotiations on translational agreements, the role of EWCs, mandates and signing of agreements. The coordinators want EPSU to develop such rules as well. A key issue to be addressed further concerns the establishment of trade union coordination groups for translational companies;
- The EPSU Deputy General Secretary presented the recent agreements reached with Suez on equality and diversity, profit-sharing and employment & competencies. He noted several of the issues addressed by EMF in its internal rules;
- A draft discussion paper on the use of the EPSU legal fund for assistance to trade unions and EWCs considering Court Cases against the company for not respecting information and consultation rights was considered. A reworked version will come back in April;
- Updates on the activities in a number of EWCs;
- First discussion on Congress resolution and possible issues to be addressed concerning EWCs such as building the network, dealing with transnational agreements, addressing private equity, and developing our work on Ses (European companies).

The meeting took place 29 October 2007, Brussels.

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