European Works Councils

The Transnational Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations 1999 were brought into force on 15th January 2000 to give effect in the UK to the European Union (EU) Directive requiring certain EU-wide undertakings to establish European Works Councils (EWCs) for the purposes of informing and consulting employees.

Regulation 8 provides that an employee or his or her representative may present a claim to the Industrial Court that the employer has failed to provide necessary information, required by regulation 7, to assist that employee to determine whether or not the employer is part of an EU-wide undertaking.

If a request is received by an employer to establish an EWC, regulation 10 provides that the central management of that employer may apply to the Court for a declaration that it is not an EU-wide undertaking within the meaning of the Regulations, or that insufficient numbers of employees have requested that an EWC be established.

Regulation 15 provides that, following the establishment of a Special Negotiating Body (SNB) to agree the scope, composition, functions and term of office of an EWC, employees’ representatives may complain to the Court that the SNB arrangements are in some way defective (e.g. the number of seats allocated is incorrect).  Regulation 15 also provides that either management or employee representatives may make a complaint to the Court that a nomination to the SNB is invalid.

Regulation 23 provides that an employer may seek a declaration for the Court that information provided to members of the EWC should be held in confidence by the EWC.  Regulation 24 provides that employee or employer representatives may seek a declaration from the Court that certain information should or should not be disclosed to the EWC.