A bigger future for worker participation in Europe thanks to Allianz SE

Brussels, 25/09/2006

? Workers will have equal representation on the supervisory board of the SE (European company)
In future, in line with staff numbers, a group of European workforce representatives will defend the interests of workers from a total of 29 countries on the company's highest body, its supervisory board. UNI-Europe Finance Vice-President Jörg Reinbrecht will be one of the workforce representatives.

? Workers will have a strong SE works council
The powers of the works council will extend beyond those stipulated by law. Thus, it will also be entitled to inform workers in off-shore companies if they are affected by any decisions taken by Allianz SE. Moreover, the works council will have the right of initiative, enabling it to raise topics of its own choosing in talks with the management. The workforce representatives with a seat on the supervisory board will be designated by the SE's works council. The works council also has the right to invite European trade union representatives to meetings.

? The agreement contains a social and political preamble
In that preamble the company pledges to promote social dialogue at the global level and respect international norms such as the International Labour Organisation's core labour standards, the principles underlying the United Nations Global Compact and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

The challenge facing us now is to breathe life into this agreement. The workers employed by Allianz SE find themselves faced with extensive restructuring. Unlike any other key company in Europe, Allianz SE's workforce and unions will have a chance to show just what worker participation can do to promote socially acceptable structural change and build a more social Europe.

"From the European viewpoint, the arrangement reached with Allianz SE regarding worker participation constitutes an important step towards a form of company management that is not geared solely towards shareholders' interests,” said European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) Deputy General Secretary Reiner Hoffmann.

Mandatory worker participation is not a historically obsolete model, as many employer federations repeatedly claim! Moreover, it does not hamper companies in applying the European Company Statute Directive. Under the European legislation on SEs, not fewer but more workers in Europe will benefit from effective participation rights. Moreover, the further provisions applying to SEs' works councils make the European employers' attitude of playing for time, and their resistance to an improved European Works Councils Directive, seem less and less comprehensible."

Note: For further information on workers' participation in the European Company (SE) and the spread of worker participation in European companies, see www.seeurope-network.org.