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European Works Council EWC

Updated: 03.01.2022

Under the Directive (2009/38/EC) that was adopted in 2004 and revised in 2009, multinational companies have to set up a European Works Council (EWC) if the employer or the employees in at least two countries want one.

A European Works Council (EWC) is a group of representatives elected by the employees who participate in discussions on matters affecting employees in co-operation with the company’s management.

A EWC has to be formed if a multinational company has a total of at least 1000 employees in EU/EEA countries and 150 workers in at least  two of them.

European Works Councils activities are based on the EWC Directive (2009/38/EC) that was adopted in 2004 and revised in 2009. Each EU/EEA country has enacted the provisions of the Directive in its own laws. In Finland they are in the Act on Co-operation within Finnish and Community-wide Groups of Undertakings.

The employees’ representatives and the company’s management make an agreement on European-wide co-operation, which sets out the common ground rules. The EWC agreement is made under the law of the country where the company has its headquarters.

A European Works Council comprises staff representatives elected from all the EU/EEA countries where the company has employees. EWC representatives have similar rights and obligations to shop stewards and health and safety representatives under the law of the country concerned.

So, a EWC is a forum for employees. It is a place where the representatives of the employees of multinational companies meet, where the representatives have the right to get information and to be consulted on at least the matters mentioned in the law.

Many guides have been produced on EWC matters. However, we recommend that you contact PAM as soon as your company starts talking about a European Works Council (EWC). Examples of companies in the union sector that have an EWC include L&T, Fazer, Compass Group, Sodexo, Scandic Hotels, Nordic Choice Hotels, SSP, H&M, Ikea, Inditex, ISS, Nokas Avarn ja Securitas.

Basic information on EWCs at the homepage of Industrial Employees TP (incl. materials in English):

Database and statistics on EWC agreements: 

You can announce EWC representation on this form.

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