Certain employers of larger businesses with employees in more than one European union member state are subject to regulations under which they may be required to inform and consult with their employees at European level through the establishment of a European Works Council (EWC).
The regulations apply to community scale undertakings i.e. an undertaking with at least 1,000 employees within the member state and at least 150 employees who are employed in each of two other EU member states. Negotiations to establish an European Works Council can be initiated in two ways; either by the undertaking or more likely, following a request made by employees or employee representatives. If no such employer request is made then the employer is under no obligation to initiate negotiations.
In terms of a statutory model will apply if parties have failed to reach an agreement within three years or the management of the employer fails to commence negotiations within the period of six months from the initial request.
There are both collective and individual remedies for any breaches or failures on the part of employers to complete their obligations under this legislation. Employee rights also include not to be unfairly dismissed or subject to a detriment for being a member of an EWC.
Employers also have the right to time off, to be paid at the appropriate hourly rate, to take part in an election, to become an employee representative or to perform functions as a member representative or candidate of an EWC.