In this section you will find an overview of all planned and past courses and other EWC-related updates..
- "Shared Service Centres as an organisational model – field of action for the EWC” NEW DATE and VENUE: 11-13.12.2019, IG BCE training centre Kagel, Germany
cooperation with IG Metall. Registration is open here!
- 9.10.2019 – 11.10.2019 “the EWC as an instrument for organising workers in multinational companies”
Florence, Italy; cooperation with EFFAT. More information here.
- 14.10.2019 - 24.11.2019 Seventh session of the online course “EWC – rules of the game’ and launch of the French version. We are also preparing the development of a Spanish and German version.
Also on our work programme for 2019-2020:
- Design of new training materials on intercultural cooperation.
- Pilot training on intercultural cooperation within the EWC.
- Advanced training for Select Committee members (in cooperation with IG Metall).
- Continued training on the impact of digitalisation.
Dates and venues will be announced here as soon as concrete details are available!
- Following a first session on the development of an organising toolbox in 2018, a second training on “building trade union power through EWCs” was organised in cooperation with industriAll Europe from 29 to 31 January in Vienna. The course also allowed for a first exchange with Ildikó Krén, the newly appointed ‘strategic organiser’ of the European federation of metal, chemical and textile workers. After hearing the experiences of the EWCs of the Sandvik and Amcor groups, concrete organising plans were developed for the 8 represented companies in joint teams of EWC members and trade union coordinators. A roadmap was agreed, firm commitments taken and support and follow-up will be ensured by industriAll, with the ultimate goal of strengthening the union presence in all branches of a multinational company.
- In response to one of the core missions of a European Works Council, further training was organised on “understanding and using financial data”. Having Czech and Slovak as extra working languages and Bratislava as a venue, provided easy access to the course for worker representatives from the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In fact, the interest for participation was so high, that it was decided to repeat the same programme twice: from 23 to 25 January and again from 27 to 29 March 2019. A total of 42 EWC members from 30 different companies and 17 countries learned about the basics of balance sheets, profit & loss accounts and other financial statements. Exercises included the development of key performance indicators, the preparation of a questionnaire for the management and a case study. There was plenty of time for exchange of experiences with handling the subject in the different EWCs. With the highly appreciated help of the experts of the German labour consultant PCG, special attention was given to each individual financial report. The programme will definitely be repeated in the future, possibly with a focus on specific sectors.
- After a first and well attended course on “Occupational Health & Safety (OSH) as a topic for transnational action” in 2017, the same programme was repeated from 20 to 22 November 2018. Chosen venue was once again Bilbao, Spain, where the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (OSHA) is located. With more than 50 candidates, this session was even more successful than the previous one. As Polish was one of the active languages offered, the interest from Polish EWC members was particularly high. The programme included a good balance between expert input, in particular from Secafi and from the ETUI ‘Working Conditions, Health & Safety’ unit, and interactive working group sessions. One entirely new approach was a card game, designed to make participants reflect upon priorities of risk management. During the visit of the OSHA information was shared about the current campaign on dangerous substances and a focus on psycho-social risks. Participants went home with a lot of new knowledge and some concrete ideas on how to develop a joint initiative on health & safety with their colleagues from the EWC. Satisfaction was very high, as one of the participants said: “every hour of the training was interesting”.
- Upon invitation of UNI Europa, worker representatives and union coordinators of Securitas, G4S and ISS participated in an “advanced training for Select Committee and active EWC members” in Prague from 24 to 26 September. The intention was to give new inspiration and fresh energy to these very experienced European Works Councils. A self-assessment made it possible to analyse their representativity, especially in terms of the active involvement of Eastern-European delegates. An expert of the Central European Organising Centre (COZZ) spoke about the initiatives they develop in Czechia to establish more unions in multinational companies. This was followed by a creative and interactive discussion on how EWCs can improve the level of representativity. The second part of the programme focused on providing the participants with stronger communication skills. In conclusion, each company delegation drafted a joint action plan, as well as individual commitments to make their EWC even more efficient. As one of the participants wrote “it was the best thought-provoking course in a long time”.
- Further building upon the expertise already developed by the ETUI on “the use of financial information in a EWC”, a closed seminar was organised only for worker representatives in the finance sector. Both bank and insurance companies as well as two payment processors were well represented at the training that took place in Frankfurt from 19 to 21 September. The expertise of two Secafi consultants was highly appreciated and allowed to get a better insight into banking and insurance supervision and the main elements of the financial report, as well as some specific key performance indicators. Given the specific audience of the training, a visit to the European Central Bank was included on the programme. In a first part, a lively exchange took place with the former chair of the ECB trade union IPSO. In a second part, a legal expert from the ECB explained how banking supervision rules are developed and applied.
- In cooperation with the European Trade Union Federation industriAll, a training was organised from 23 to 25 January in Budapest, Hungary, on “Company policy and EWCs as an instrument for organising and building trade union power”. 19 delegates from 8 different countries, half of which coming from Eastern Europe, learned about experiences gained in Hungary, the organising tools developed by the Baltic Organising Academy and the activities of the Central European Organising Centre (COZZ). Dr Rebecca Gumbrell-McCormick and Professor Richard Hyman made a valuable contribution from an academic perspective, highlighting the general evolution of union density, different organising models and the potential of EWCs and framework agreements. The possible contribution of the EWC was discussed in more detail among the participants, considering on the one hand the existing legal rights and duties and on the other hand suggesting new initiatives that could be initiated. A final brainstorm around elements to be included in a practical guide, subjects and methods for a topical training, the use of a list of target companies and alternative company-level tools and policies resulted in many concrete ideas and new initiatives. In conclusion, the industriAll General Secretary Luc Triangle reiterated the commitment of the European Federation to support its member organisations with their organising initiatives. Follow-up will be ensured through the industriAll secretariat, the Company Policy Committee and another training early 2019.
- The EU directive 2014/95 on the disclosure of non-financial and diversity information was the main topic of a seminar in Bologna, Italy, which was organised in cooperation with CGIL from 15 to 17 November 2017. 24 EWC members and union coordinators from different sectors discussed the relevance and practical use of this new legal instrument. Dr Volker Telljohann from the Economic and Social Research Institute IRES provided an introduction to the general theme of Corporate Social Responsibility, after which Hans-Detlev Küller from the German political and social education institute Arbeit und Leben clarified the content of the directive. After an interactive session, looking at ways of dealing with CSR matters in practice, a round table debate was organised to gain an insight into the potential impact of the directive on industrial relations. Enrico Somaglia from the European Trade Union Federation EFFAT analysed the shortcomings and positive aspects of the law, inviting EWC members to claim the non-financial statement of their company and insist on being informed and consulted on these matters. The view from a local union perspective was expressed by Doris Meissner from IGBCE. Further contributions concerned the legal transposition process in Italy and an academic take on the relevance of the directive for unions and worker representatives. Gradually, a toolbox could be composed, containing all relevant guidelines, directives, tips and tricks and other practical elements on how to put non-financial information high on the agenda. The seminar concluded with the definition of an action plan and a roadmap for the optimal use of the EU directive.
- For the first time, but definitely not for the last time, a three-day course was organised on the basics of financial data in Kagel-Möllenhorst, Germany. From 20 to 22 September 2017 24 EWC members from 10 different countries, mainly from the food, transport and industrial sectors, learned about the basics of financial terminology, understanding the balance sheet and the annual accounts of their company. Experts from the German consultant PCG guided the participants through the very technical vocabulary, revealing the reality behind the numbers and helping them to consider the relevant key performance indicators and to identify the key questions to ask their management. The theory was largely illustrated by practical examples and eventually resulted in the composition of a model questionnaire which can be used by the worker representatives in their EWCs and SE WCs.
- In cooperation with UNI Europa a course for EWC coordinators was organised in Bilbao from 3 to 4 May 2017, putting them “At the heart of transnational trade union strategies in multinational companies”. It was a very interactive and intense exchange with a mix of 14 trade union officers and company representatives from 10 different countries. The debates focused on the UNI guidelines and practical experiences with coordinating between the EWC and global union alliances. In particular, a joint strategy between these two bodies on restructuring and the option of negotiating framework agreements were developed in more detail. Highlight of the training was an introduction to the activities of the ‘Central European Organising Centre - COZZ’. This organisation was set up by UNI and has its office in Warsaw. Its goal is to help local unions in Poland, Czechia, Slovakia and Hungary with campaigning, networking and recruiting members. The course ended with the development of concrete action plans with a view to establish and activate more union alliances. As some of the participants stated, this left them “packed with new ideas” and “ feeling energised and with very useful tools”.
- From 1 to 3 March 2017, a seminar for European Works Council members was organised on Occupational Health & Safety as a topic for transnational action. 23 representatives from 16 different companies and 9 different nationalities came together in Bilbao to learn more about the European framework directive, how to perform a risk assessment and exchange ideas about an action plan for the EWC. Richard Jeantet, consultant from Secafi, and Viktor Kempa, senior researcher from the ETUI, provided the highly appreciated expert assistance. The seminar also included a visit to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (OSHA), which before was unknown to many participants. They considered it a real discovery and great source of information which could definitely help them a lot in future discussions on health & safety matters. Although some would have wanted to go even deeper into the topic, the overall appreciation was very high. A seminar which is definitely worth repeating.
- York was the location for this year’s “English language and communication course for EWCs”. 13 worker representatives from 6 different countries participated in this intense language training, which took place from 17 to 21 October 2016.
- How to achieve better coordination and communication for European Works Councils in the Commerce sector was the subject of an ETUI seminar taking place in Florence, Italy, from 2 to 4 May 2016. 18 employee representatives and trade union coordinators participated in the event. Major companies from the sector, such as Metro, Fnac, Delhaize, Carrefour, Ikea, Inditex, Auchan and H&M were represented. Special attention was given to the UNI Europa Commerce Guidelines on EWCs. One of the final results of the seminar was a detailed overview of tasks and responsibilities for the EWCs, the trade union alliances, the European and Global Union Federation and the local unions to strengthen the network between these different actors.
- A seminar on "the practice of EWCs" for recently appointed or elected SNB, EWC or SE WC members took place in Warsaw, Poland, from 7 to 9 September 2016. This was the seventh session covering the basics of EWC activities in a series that started three years ago. Once again, the interest was overwhelming, with more than 50 registrations. 29 representatives from Poland, Romania, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Italy discussed the legal framework and exchanged their experiences and good practices. The communication strategy and internal structure of the Fortum EWC was presented as an inspiring example. Guillaume Durivaux, policy officer of EPSU, presented the policies and guidelines with regard to EWCs from the perspective of the European Trade Union Federations, while dr. Robert Szewczyk from the international department of Solidarność underlined the importance of European cooperation as seen by the local union federations.
- 17 local trade union officers participated in a seminar on “Trade union coordination of EWCs and SE Works Councils” in Bratislava, Slovakia from 3 to 5 October 2016. The programme included a critical view on the legal framework, including a better understanding of the differences between the EWC and the SE regulation, a debate about the guidelines from the European Trade Union Federations on the purpose and practical approach of trade union coordination of EWCs, an assessment of the problems that such coordinators may face in their role and a look at the potential of EWCs as a tool for trade union action. A highlight of the training was a panel debate with Aline Conchon, policy officer of industriAll, Annick Aerts of the Belgian union LBC/NVK and experienced EWC coordinator, and Anders Carlson, chairman of the Bombardier EWC. The debate was animated by Miroslav Hajnoš, international officer of the Slovak union confederation KOZ SR, who asked the panellists what their vision was on the major challenges for EWCs, the responsibility of both business and unions to ensure a proper information and consultation and possible future evolutions. He also explained how the unions in Slovakia strive for a stronger representation within multinational companies. The seminar concluded with a matrix overview of the different communication lines which need to be maintained in order to ensure an efficient and effective union coordination.
this page was last updated on 1 October 2019