Title of the project: Improving the quality and the level of the representation of employees through organizational assimilation and the efficient use of EWC instrument by parties interested in industrial relations

Supported by: European Union through the Directorate – General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission

Duration of activities: 01/02/2020 – 31/10/2021

The increased presence, within the last decade, of multinational companies in the Eastern European region has raised several difficult issues for the representational capacity of workers’ unions, such as: differing legislations, language barriers, lack of operative transnational capacity etc. A decade after the implementation of the EWC Directive, the number of existent EWCs is still low in this region. Furthermore, in the new and candidate EU Member States, there is a lack of clear evaluation of the implementation and efficiency of the EWC as an instrument along with a lack of a standard level of knowledge of it by the social partners.

In Macedonia as a candidate country for membership in the European Union activities aimed at harmonization of national labour legislation with European legislation have been accelerated in recent years. Within that process, a special legal solution was prepared, i.e., Law on the European Works Council, which transposed Directive 2009/38/EC on establishing the European Works Council. However, this instrument still does not find its application, partly due to the limitations regarding the legal framework, as well as due to the low level of information among the stakeholders about the existence of this instrument. Also, the legal framework does not regulate the establishment of works councils in domestic companies, and the only actors in industrial relations that can represent workers are the unions.  In recent years, their power and numbers have been declining and the unification of workers in new enterprises has become increasingly difficult. Therefore, in addition to domestic and a significant part of multinational companies, there are no trade unions, and the employer is often bypassing the need to establish a union by appointing a representative of the employees.

The Center for Research and Policy Making, in cooperation with the four partner organizations: Institute for Public  Policy – Romania (leading partner), Center for Economic Development – Bulgaria, Institute for Public Affairs – Poland and Institute for Development and International Relations – Croatia, implements the project which aims to increase the level of knowledge and strengthen the capacity of the social partners in the country in relation to the policies of the European Union in the field of industrial relations, with a focus on European Works Councils. In particular, it will assess the implementation of the Directive on the European Works Council in the partner countries, as well as the level of knowledge regarding European Works Councils in the social partners.