New push for more "democracy at work" in the EU


New push for more "democracy at work" in the EU

A proposal for the EU-wide extension of co-determination rights has been presented in the Employment Committee of the European Parliament (EP). In particular, a revision and extension of the so-called European Works Council Directive is called for.

On 1 July 2021, German SPD MEP Gabriele Bischoff presented her draft report on "Democracy at Work" to the EP Employment Committee.

The draft contains demands that would lead to noticeable tightening of existing regulations in many areas. In particular, in the area of company law, an expansion of existing co-determination rights is called for: for example, by introducing EU minimum requirements for employee representation on supervisory boards, by lowering thresholds for employee representation at supervisory board level, and by increasing the proportion of employee representatives on supervisory boards. In addition, at least 80 percent of EU companies should be subject to agreements on sustainable corporate governance by 2030. But the demands on the Commission are also extensive: The EU Commission should present a directive on binding human rights due diligence and responsible corporate conduct .

In essence, the draft report presents the demands of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) in the area of co-determination. It fails to recognise that an extension of co-determination contradicts the successful European negotiation model and that many Member States are extremely critical of such an extension or even reject it.

The report, which is not legally binding, will now be discussed in the Employment Committee and will be adopted by the plenary of the European Parliament in autumn at the earliest. It remains to be seen whether the EU Commission will take up the initiative and propose legislative steps.