ECJ ruling: Commission should act on workers' participation, says ETUC

The European Court of Justice judgment on 18 July stating that German law on employee participation is compatible with EU law highlights the fact that provision for workers on company boards “has not been harmonised or even coordinated” at EU level.

The European Trade Union Confederation has already called for an EU framework for workers’ participation and says the ECJ ruling should prompt the European Commission to create EU rules on board-level representation as well as updated rules on information, and consultation of workers.

"The Commission has done much to establish a level playing field for companies in the internal market,” said ETUC Deputy General Secretary Peter Scherrer, “but has failed to set up a framework for workers' board-level representation as well as information and consultation. The Commission should take this latest ECJ ruling as reason for further action on effective workers’ participation rights.

“The judgment is a good sign for all Member States with well-established and far-reaching participation rights for workers.”

The unsuccessful challenge at the ECJ to workers’ representatives on supervisory boards claimed that the German law is discriminatory and incompatible with European law.

Peter Scherrer added “Any future company law proposal must be well balanced, taking into account workers’ participation rights and in particular ensuring board-level representation, which was not the case in past proposals. The Commission’s failure to act on this issue is clearly stated in the judgment.”