Works Council

A organization representing workers that functions as a local/firm-level complement to national labor negotiations. Works councils exist with different names in a variety of related forms in a number of European countries. Works councils can also be formed in non-unionized companies. Works council representatives may also be appointed to the Board of Directors. The aim of works councils is to reduce workplace conflict by improving and systematizing communication channels; to increase bargaining power of workers by means of legislation; and to correct market failures by means of public policy. In 1994, the European Union passed a Directive (94/45/EC) on the establishment of a European Works Council (EWC) or similar procedure for the purposes of informing and consulting employees in companies which operate at European Union level. The EWC Directive applies to companies with at least 1,000 employees within the European Union and at least 150 employees in each of at least two Member States. The Agency Workers Directive includes the requirement that Agency Workers should be included in employee headcount for this purpose. In some markets, temporary workers may actually be represented on Works Councils (sometimes after a qualifying period). Term mainly used in Western Europe.

Source: Staffing Industry Analysts

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