Co-determination in the European aerospace industry as example for co-determination in Societas Europea (SE)

Workshop of European Works Council members and national Works Council members in Bratislava from 01 to 03 March 2016

The number of Societas Europea (SE) is growing slowly but steadily: according to the Hans-Böckler-Stiftung there are currently 185 SEs with five or more employees operative in Germany. This raises questions about how co-determination and workers’ representation is organized in a transnational way.

The European aerospace industry represents like very few other sectors a truly European industry where national borders play a more and more subordinate role. Given both its history and its present company structure, the Airbus Group, for example, can be considered as a kind of a prototype of a genuine European company. The solutions found for transnational workers’ representation in this sector are likely to shape the model of workers’ representation in SE in general.

Against this background, trade union representatives, European Works Council members and Works Council members from plants in France, Germany, Great Britain, Poland, Romania and Spain met in Bratislava to discuss models and best practice examples for workers representation in SE.

A presentation of the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) stressed how heterogeneous the principles and legal provisions relating to workers’ representation are in the different EU member states. This often makes it difficult for workers' representatives at the plants of the same company in different countries to cooperate transnationally. ETUI has developed a regularly updated website (http://www.worker-participation.eu/) to provide a tool where everybody can easily access and compare the national frameworks of workers’ representation.

The discussion also underlined the importance of International Framework Agreements (IFA) for transnational workers’ representation.

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DGB-Jugend/Simone M. Neumann

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