American Chamber of Commerce
in the Czech Republic
28.02.2008, 09:00 - 28.02.2008, 11:00
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The European commission is at the moment approving a draft revision of Directive 94/45/EC of 22 September 1994 on the establishment of a European Works Councils. If passed, it will strenghten the possition of European Works Councils and allow them to retard and in some cases even to block a corporate decision-making process concerning transformation, outsourcing, take-overs, joint venture etc. The negative impact of the decision concerns primarily the new member states, being in the middle of the investors interest because of their qualified labour force and competitive labour market. Some of the new AmCham members consider the intended revision being a threat for their EU operations. The most controversial issues of the proposal: - widening the classification of information and consultation: as yet the employers have to consult their decisions concerning at least two member states or the entire company; According to the new proposal all company activities exceeding the authority of governing bodies in one member state are subject to consultation. - moreover, inclusion of environmental or occupational safety and health issues that are effectively dealt with in national legislations makes whole procedures even more unclear and complex. It would mean a dramatic increase in the scope of issues and uncertainty as to what issues at what level should be consulted - increased number of European Works Councils meetings. This would mean a further increase of already high costs. One meeting of European Works Councils (the employer is required to cover travel expenses, translation of the documents, simultaneous translation into all languages present, accomodation and other expenses) is expected to reach 100 to 200 thousand dollars - further limitations of employers discretion to classify information as confidential will increase its vulnerability to exposure of company proprietary information and therefore significantly endanger its competitive advantages - European labor unions are planing to lower a number of the employees, which at the moment is 1000 employees and more than 150 in 2 member states. We would like to invite you to a briefing during which Milena Jabůrková of IBM will explain the impact the revision, if passed, would have on big corporations. The event is held on February 28, 9 - 11 am at the Chamber offices at Dušní 10, Prague 1. AmCham would also like to gather members´ comments on the issue and embark on lobbying a less stringent wording of the Directive revision.