Information and consultation in multinational companies
If you work for a multinational company you may have the right to be informed and consulted about important 'transnational' workplace issues. Transnational issues are ones that affect your company's workplaces in more than one country.
The right to be represented on a European Works Council
You may have rights under the Transnational Information and Consultation of Employees (TICE) Regulations 1999, if you work for a business that is:
- part of a multinational company
- operating in at least two countries in the European Economic Area (EEA)
The TICE Regulations give employees in multinational companies with at least 1,000 employees, the right to be represented on a European Works Council (EWC).
A EWC is an information and consultation (Iand C) forumdesignedso employees in differentEEA member statescan be informed and consulted about transnational issues affecting the company. Some large multinational companies use EWCs to form part of their global Iand C network. Others set up EWCs following a request from their employees.
Asking for a European Works Council agreement
You canask that a European Works Council is set up if the business you work for:
- has 1,000 or more employees
- has at least 150 employees in each of two or more European Economic Area member states
For a request to be valid it must be made by at least 100 employees in at leasttwo undertakingsin two or more member states.
Once a valid request has been received, your employermust make the necessary arrangements for you to elect or appoint representatives to a group called the Special Negotiating Body (SNB).
Special negotiating body
Aspecial negotiating body (SNB)is made up of employees representatives from each European Economic Area member state where your company has employees. Its role is to negotiate with your employers central management over thecomposition (make up)and terms of the European Works Council (EWC).
Once a SNB has been set up, the parties have up to three years to negotiate a EWC agreement in order towork out:
- how the EWC will be set up
- what it will discuss
- how often it will meet
A negotiated EWC agreement must set out:
- what parts of the company will be covered by the agreement
- thecomposition (make up)and function of the EWC
- the procedure for Iand C with the EWC
- the venue, frequency and duration ofEWC meetings
- the financial resources that will be available to the EWC
- how longthe EWCagreement will last for
- how it will be renegotiated
The EWC agreement will need to meet theneeds of the standard (fall-back) provisions which are set out in the TICE Regulations. Thestandard provisions are much moreclear and detailed about what the company must consult over and when.
While your employer should try to be as open as possible with the EWC, the Regulations do allow them to withhold certain information if its disclosure would seriously harm the functioning of the company.
Protection for employees and employee representatives
If youask fora EWC agreement or take part in one, either as an employee or an employee representative, you have certain rights. You are protected against detriment (unfair treatment) or unfair dismissal by your employer for any reason around:
- asking for information from your employer
- requesting a EWC agreement
- standing as a candidate in a SNB or EWC election
- any of your duties around being an employee representative
If you are a SNB representative or a EWC representative you are entitled to take reasonable, paid time off during working hours to perform your representative duties.
You can complain to an Employment Tribunal if you exercise your rights under the TICE Regulations and your employer does not:
- let you take reasonable, paid time off
- dismisses you unfairly
- subjects you to a 'detriment' - this means you are disadvantaged at work, for instance you do not get a pay rise or your hours are cut back
You or your representatives could complain to the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC):
- if your employer doesn't consult employees properly under the TICE Regulations
- fails to set-up an arrangement under the I and Cstandard provisions - these are set out in the TICE Regulations
If the CAC upholds (supports) the complaint your representatives (or you) can apply to the Employment Appeals Tribunal to ask them to impose a financial penalty of up to 75,000 on your employer.
- Unfair dismissal
- Employment Tribunals: an introduction
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