EWC Directive: Positive developments, yet limited ambition regarding franchising and enforcement

Jan 24, 2024 | Press release

Today the European Commission has issued its proposal for long-awaited amendments to the EWC Directive. EFFAT welcomes them, yet expresses disappointment over limited ambition regarding franchising and enforcement.

The changes proposed today go in the right direction as include inter alia changes towards: 

  • Improved information and consultation rights for thousands of EWC members. EFFAT welcomes in particular the improvement in the definition of “consultation” with a clear reference to the need to consult and provide a motivated response to EWC opinions prior to company decisions.
  • The definition of “transnational matter”. All too often companies limit consultation only to matters that directly affect at least two countries at the same time and in a relevant manner. In todays’ proposal the Commission clarifies that also matters affecting workers in one country are subject to consultation when their potential impact is expected to affect workers in other countries. EFFAT will work to ensure such definition also includes what is outlined in recital 12, namely that envisaged decisions taken in one country with expected impact in another one are also subject to consultation.
  • The respect to the obligations of Management to cover the costs for experts and access to justice as well as the need to implement dissuasive pecuniary sanctions. However we know very well that pecuniary sanctions are often very weak dissuasive instruments when it comes to TNCs. The amending directive should clarify that whenever information and consultation rights are breached, company decisions are suspended.
  • The obligation to implement subsidiary requirements whenever the first SNB meeting doesn’t take place within six months and the reference to two meetings per year in the subsidiary requirements.

Despite all the above improvements, EFFAT regrets the exclusion of old article 13 pre-directive agreements from the scope and expresses disappointment about the lack of ambition over franchising. Without changes to the current draft franchised giants of the like of McDonald’s and Starbucks will continue to be excluded by the EWC Directive.

Together with ETUC and the other ETUFs, EFFAT will now advocate for the needed improvements with the European Parliament and the Council.