What can employers do when a request is made for a European Works Council?
If a request is made for a European Works Council (EWC), the employer can accept the request, in which case it must establish a special negotiating body (SNB), or contest the validity of the request by applying to the Central Arbitration Committee. If the management wishes to contest the validity of the request it must do so within three months. If it does nothing, after six months it will be under a duty to establish a statutory EWC unless it can show that the request was invalid.
Where an SNB is established, the employer and the SNB are obliged to negotiate "in the spirit of cooperation with a view to reaching an agreement" on the arrangements for the "information and consultation" of employees either by an EWC or by an alternative body. If no agreement is reached within three years and there is no prospect that one may be concluded soon, a statutory EWC may be established.