The Civil Affairs Institute
You spend 8 hours per day at work – this is a third of your life! Are you sure that your company is not experiencing financial difficulties, is not moving and you will not become unemployed? Such information may be collected by works councils. It is important that they work well at your workplace.
Poland, Lodz Province
Poor access to information, breaking workers’ rights, lack of participation and consultation – these are the problems regarding working conditions that are widespread across Europe and affect millions of workers. We need to initiate public debate on the subject, exchange experience, prepare recommendations for legislative changes and finally to mobilize citizens to support these changes. All this will bring Europe closer to the stage where employees feel safe and become real partners for employers.
The project addresses a problem which is nowadays very little known and discussed. It affects millions of people and refers to a very important aspect of their life – dignity and safety at work. The project has an innovative and pan-European dimension.
Our goal is to improve the legal and operational conditions for works councils in the EU. The international debate is required. We need to start discussing the topic in the international arena, exchange experiences and find common solutions. We also want to mobilize the public and encourage citizens to support the idea.
If our project is implemented, a year from now much more Europeans will know about works councils and their importance. A recommendation of legal changes will be developed and presented to the European bodies. We will also enable citizens to support these changes by signing petitions. The idea of works councils will be introduced to the wider public debate. We will start changing the perception of w. councils – both among employees and employers.
We have planned:
• Organizing an international conference promoting the value of workers’ participation. The meeting will take place in Poland and will be attended by representatives of works councils, trade unions, entrepreneurs, decision makers and NGOs from 9 countries: initially from Germany, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary and United Kingdom.
• Making a documentary.
• Preparing a report about the condition of the works councils in Europe and their importance for the society.
• Developing common recommendations for legislative changes of the EU Directive and sending the document to the European Commission.
• Beginning the debate about w. councils, gaining broad support from citizens (petitions).
Implementation of the project - one year
We are open to any suggestions, ideas and comments. We are particularly interested in receiving information on how works councils operate in different countries, how many of them work effectively, whether they are real and efficient representative bodies of the crews and what challenges they face.