Labour ministers must give workers a say over companies’ Covid restructuring

EU labour ministers meeting tomorrow are being urged to send a clear message to companies restructuring because of Covid that they must respect trade unions and workers’ right to a say in the process.

Major restructuring processes are ongoing in all sectors as a result of the Covid crisis and in many cases companies are flouting their workers’ rights to information, consultation and participation to business decision affecting their working conditions and employment.

Social dialogue and collective bargaining are crucial in shaping responsible restructuring processes and ensure the defence of workers interests.

Ahead of the meeting, ETUC affiliates have written to ministers to call on them to ensure:

  • Workers’ participation rights have been enforced before management take decisions
  • Companies which flout workers’ rights are sanctioned
  • Progress towards new rules giving workers more voice on companies’ decisions through a reform of the EWC Directive and a new framework for information, consultation and board-level representation for European company forms and companies using EU mobility instruments.

ETUC Confederal Secretary Isabelle Schömann stated:

“Democracy at work matters, today more than ever.  In view of the too frequent violations of workers’ rights in restructuring processes, we call on Labour Ministers to deliver concrete and rapid actions to guarantee the effective enforcement of workers’ rights to be informed, consulted and to participate in decision-making before any decision is adopted in order to anticipate and manage the COVID-19 crisis.

"Trade unions and workers representatives should be able to exercise their rights to shape and negotiate, on the basis of meaningful consultation, responsible restructuring processes.’

"We urge Labour Ministers to constructively embark on the review of EU rules to strengthen European Works Councils’ rights and in the new framework for information consultation and board level representation for European company forms and companies using EU mobility instruments."

Statement on worker involvement in managing the Covid-19 crisis