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Annual EWPCC Conference, 26 February - 27 February 2015: 'Variations on a Theme: Understanding information, consultation and negotiation at the workplace across Europe'

The 2015 annual Conference of the European Workers' Participation Competence Centre (EWPCC) , 26-27 February 2015 in Brussels.

As part of its series of conferences aimed at better understanding the multi-level dynamics of workers’ participation across national borders, this year’s EWPCC Conference turns its attention to the workplace level. The aim is to better understand the processes of information, consultation and negotiation at the local enterprise level.

The target group are employee representatives as well as trade union and academic experts in this field.Over 180 participants from all over the EU registered.

The conference can be followed on Twitter, hashtag is #EWPCC2015

The so called 'articulation' (i.e. cooperation and exchange) between the various levels of information and consultation has many dimensions. One of the key challenges for European Works Councils (EWCs) and SE-Works Councils (SE-WC) has always been how to anchor their work at the local workplace level. The Recast EWC Directive even makes it an obligation that the work of the EWC be linked to the processes of information and consultation at the national and local level.

It is , however, not only a one-way street for EWCs to report about the outcomes of information and consultation procedures, but is a relevant opportunity for the national level to benefit from representation of workers interest at transnational level. Another aspect of articulation is its 'horizontal' dimension reflecting how various forms of worker representatives work together (EWC and SE works council members, trade union officers and works council members at plant level, health & safety representatives, etc.). The EWPCC Conference 2015 attempts to explain the interrelations between these levels and provide space for exchange of experiences, ideas and knowledge on the operation of those various levels in various countries of the EU (see also the forthcoming ETUC and ETUI annual publication 'Benchmarking Working Europe 2015, to be published in March).

DAY 1

During the first day of the conference preliminary results of the European Company Survey were presented by Gijs van Houten from the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions in Dublin. The presentation was followed by a panel discussion by worker representatives from various EU Member States reporting about issues related to practical operation of information and consultation on plant level.

The afternoon of the first day was devoted to workshops deepening the mutual understanding of how does information and consultation work in practice in various Member States. In the workshops worker representatives from various levels (European/transnational, local, plant and regional level) and with various functions (EWC/SEWC members, trade union officials, delegated union members, worker representatives and local level works council members) were interviewed. Their input was followed by exchange of information about their respective frameworks and practice. Lively discussions, questions, exchanges on how do various systems work and what experience can be transferred were the core of these workshops.

The plenary session summarised discussions in workshops and allowed for discerning some trends, challenges and common problems across Europe.

DAY 2

The second day of the conference started with the second series of topical workshops comprising:

1) Problems of compliance or lack of interest?

2) Deepening the comparison of day-to-day practice

3) Information and consultation in EU legislation: how does it work in real life? Presentation by Isabelle Schömann

4) Responding to the Social Partners consultation

More information to follow.

If you are interested to participate receive information about the EWPCC and ETUI events in the area of worker-participation please contact Aline Hoffmann, EWPCC Coordinator at ahoffmann@etui.org

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