Are you employed by a company that has a workforce of at least 50? Or do you yourself employ more than 50 people? The law requires companies with a workforce of at least 50 to establish a works council. Companies with a smaller workforce may have to do the same if this is required by a collective agreement to which they are subject.
So what are the rights of a works council? A works council is entitled to have a say in decisions on certain matters, mainly those concerning employees’ rights. In other cases, the works council is entitled to express its opinion, for example on major changes in the company’s operations. There are even certain decisions that not be taken without the works council’s consent. This applies, for example, to decisions on certain terms of employment, such as working hours and job classification.
Staff may also be entitled to have a say in company decision-making through a staff representative body. However, the latter’s rights are more restricted than those of a works council. Companies employing between 10 and 50 staff may decide to set up a staff representative body. A firm with a workforce of at least 10 that is requested by the majority of its staff to set up a staff representative body is obliged to do so.
Both employers and employees need to know exactly what rights employees have in relation to company decision-making. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us should you have any questions about this.