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Why Worker Participation in Europe?

  • Worker participation is a Fundamental Right in Europe laid down by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU (Art. 27).
  • Worker participation is an essential part of the European Social Model. At the same time, worker participation strengthens the European Democracy in practice and the economic competitiveness of European companies.
  • Worker participation highlights the fact that a company should not be defined by the sole interest of its shareholders and managers but also by the stakeholders (as a principle of corporate governance).
  • Worker participation means that social interests can be make effective at the level of decision making of a company.
  • Worker participation has to be underlined, thus, by European legislation in order to enforce workers making their interests to the same extend effective as those introduced by the shareholders.
  • European legislation ruling worker participation rights at transnational level is based on a broad political consensus of the European Parliament and among European Governments until today.

Worker interest representation in Europe – Towards a better understanding of the pieces of a still unfinished jigsaw

European labour relations are becoming more and more like pieces of a jigsaw fitting together specific features of national labour relations (which continue to exist) with cross-border elements of interest representation provided by EU legislation, such as the EWC directive and the European Company (SE) directive. The latter are increasingly driving the dynamics of development towards a more comprehensive model of European labour relations by providing tailor-made arrangements for trans-border operating companies. The links between different pieces of the jigsaw are becoming more obvious and visible. The webportal www.worker-participation.eu supports such a holistic view by providing continuously updated empirical and conceptual information on the subject.

Jigsaw
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The type of labour needed by European companies – skilled, mobile, committed, responsible, and capable of using technical innovations and of identifying with the obj ective of increasing competitiveness and quality – cannot be expected simply to obey the employers' instructions. Workers must be closely and permanently involved in decision-making at all levels of the company.

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Final report of the `High-level expert group on workers’ involvement` (Davignon group), 1997