A Works Council is a body representing workers, at all levels, which functions as a local accompaniment to national labour negotiations. Works councils exist with different names in a variety of related forms in a number of European countries.


European Works Councils (EWCs) are standing bodies providing for the information and consultation of employees in Community-scale (European Community) undertakings and Community-scale groups of undertakings as required by the 1994 European Works Council Directive (Directive 94/45/EC). EWCs were created partly as a response to increased transnational restructuring brought about by the Single European Act, and exist for the following reasons;

  • They give representatives of workers from all European countries in large Multi-National companies a direct line of communication to the top line Management;
  • They make sure that workers in different countries all received the same information about transnational policies and plans; and
  • They give workers’ representatives in unions and national works councils the opportunity to consult with each other and to develop a common European response to employers’ transnational plans, which management must then consider before those plans are implemented.