European workers are now facing the massive social and economic consequences brought by the pandemic. An inclusive recovery and just transitions can only be achieved together in democratic manner, including the guarantee that all workers have a say and are effectively involved in the day-to-day life of their workplace.
Democracy at work is essential for socially responsible restructuring processes delivering a solution for each and every worker. The financial crisis and the pandemic have shown: companies with workers’ participation take more long-term and sustainable decisions with social and economic benefits. Likewise, public administrations and services benefit from worker involvement in terms of access to quality and accountability of service provision.
And yet, too often managements do not comply with their legal obligations to inform and consult workers’ representatives on time about plans that impact jobs, income and working conditions. In parallel, public authorities do not ensure that democracy at work is fully enforced, neither within their own administrations, and do not impose effective and dissuasive sanctions. At one of the most critical times for the EU , companies, politicians, and legislators need to take their responsibility.
We call on the European and national institutions to act now to ensure that workers’ rights are respected in restructuring processes across all workplaces!
The European institutions and national governments must deliver concrete and rapid actions to guarantee the effective enforcement of workers’ rights to be informed, consulted and to participate in companies and public administrations‘ decision-making before any envisaged decision that may impact jobs, income and working conditions is adopted.
We call on the European Commission to bring this matter to the attention of the European governments, to start infringement proceedings where necessary, and to publish a Communication restating the obligation across all workplaces to comply with workers’ rights to information and consultation.
We call on European governments to put forward the necessary actions to ensure that workers’ information and consultation rights at work are respected both at national and transnational level, to guarantee access to timely and effective remedy to workers and their representatives as well dissuasive sanctions in case of violation of workers’ information and consultation rights.
We call on the European institutions to start strengthening the flawed and limited European legal framework on democracy at work and restructuring. We call for a revision of the EWC Directive and for a new horizontal framework on information, consultation and board-level participation of workers for European company forms and for companies making use of company mobility instruments. The EU social partners’ agreement on information and consultation rights on restructuring for workers and civil servants in central government administrations must be implemented by a Directive.
Workers’ representatives at any workplace across Europe must have, before any decision is taken:
Timely access to meaningful and up-to-date information about the impact of the COVID-crisis on the company’s strategy and economic performance, on jobs and working conditions;
Enough time and resources to run an in-depth assessment of the information provided with the support of experts to work on alternatives to negative measures, such as redundancies or closures.
The genuine opportunity to discuss those alternatives with relevant decision-makers who must provide a motivated response to the proposed alternatives;
There is no time to waste and we need urgent actions: the COVID-19 related massive restructuring plans are already taking place. The fundamental right of Democracy at work has to be enforced now more than ever.