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European Works Councils

Updating author: David Whincup


  • The obligation to establish a European Works Council (EWC) applies to certain organisations with operations in the UK and another European Economic Area state. (See Which undertakings are covered?)
  • The rules relating to transnational information and consultation differ, depending on when the agreement establishing an EWC, or information and consultation procedure, was signed. (See Which undertakings are covered?)
  • Employees or their representatives can require an undertaking's management to provide information on employee numbers to determine whether or not the transnational information and consultation requirements apply. (See What happens if an EWC is requested?)
  • If management fails to respond to a valid request for the establishment of a special negotiating body to oversee the creation of an EWC, a statutory EWC must be set up. (See What happens if an EWC is requested?)
  • If management agrees to negotiate with the special negotiating body, the negotiations may continue for up to three years on the form and scope of the EWC. (See What happens if an EWC is requested?)
  • Special rules dictate the composition of the special negotiating body and EWC. (See What happens if an EWC is requested?)
  • Once the EWC has been established, it has a right to be informed and consulted on a number of matters and to receive information to enable it to perform its role. (See The obligation to inform and consult)
  • The Central Arbitration Committee may set penalties for intentional failure to comply with obligations relating to the establishment or operation of an EWC. (See Enforcement)