Access to justice for European Works Councils


This practical overview provides an overview of the state of play and a useful toolkit, including technicalities and available means of access to justice in each EU Member State. LOOK OUT FOR THE COUNTRY FICHES ON PAGE 52, which are regularly updated.

It is meant as a hands-on guidance for EWCs, trade union coordinators and experts supporting EWCs and other practitioners; it is not meant to encourage or discourage litigation. The practical overview aims at offering insight into litigation as a possible conflict solution, but is not meant to replace direct trade union advice, support or specific guidelines (for those the reader is encouraged to always seek contact with the relevant trade union and European Trade Union Federation).


Basic rights to information and consultation are often breached and the potential for conflict between EWCs and management is significant. In case a conflict cannot be solved by between the partners by referring to the EWC agreement, the legislation provides for a solution through legal recourse. However, regarding access to justice, evaluations by the European Commission and the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) have identified numerous shortcomings in both the EWC Directive (2009/38/EC) and in national legal frameworks.