European Works Council wins legal battle in merger Suez-Gaz de France


European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU)

Press Communication
Immediate release, 22 November 2006

European Works Council wins legal battle in merger Suez-Gaz de France

Judge agrees: information is not the same as consultation

The European Works Council (EWC) of Gaz de France brought a case before a French Court arguing that Gaz de France had not informed and consulted the EWC in time, in a comprehensive manner and with the possibility for the EWC to give its opinion about the merger between Gaz de France and Suez. It ruled that a GdF Board meeting in which approval was to be given for the merger and thus irreversible decisions were to be taken, could not be held before the EWC is consulted and the EWC is given the opportunity to consider its opinion. Gaz de France lost an appeal against the ruling on the same day.

“This is an important victory for all Europe's workers. Information and consultation rights can not be swept aside as it suits the company. It is also another signal that this European Commission is out of tune with Europe's workers. The Commission's lameness to act to improve and build Social Europe is in sharp contrast with how it promotes business interests” argues EPSU Deputy General Secretary Jan Willem Goudriaan, adding

“The Commission refuses to revise the European Works Council Directive to improve consultation rights. It has steadfastly declined to consider the social implications of the merger. It does not check if companies' fulfill their information and consultation obligations when ruling on a merger”.

The implication of the verdict is that the merger, foreseen for the end of this year, will now be postponed. It will be based on the companies' accounts of 2006, which will be approved in spring 2007. It will also become an issue in the run up to the French Presidential elections with the betrayal of the state's promises to keep Gaz de France public, and hence the credibility of the French Right's promises and politics being a major issue.

For more information, please contact Jan Willem Goudriaan or EPSU Press Officer Brian Synnott, + 32 2 2501080 or by email

“EPSU is the European Federation of Public Service Unions. It is the largest federation of the ETUC and comprises 8 million public service workers from over 200 Public Service Unions in 36 countries. We organise workers in health and social services, local and national administration, energy, water and waste. We are the recognised European social partner organisation in each of these sectors. EPSU is committed to building a European Union that promotes democratically accountable public services of the highest quality, within and beyond it's borders. For more information on EPSU and our work please go to:”

- EPSU Press Communication "European Works Council wins legal battle in merger Suez-Gaz de France"

- Communiqué de presse du Comité d'Entreprise Européen du groupe Gaz de France

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