New EWC agreement for G4S
New EWC agreement for G4S
13 June 2012 - the UK based private security company G4S, EWC members and UNI Europa signed a new agreement for a European Works Council
On the occasion of its Annual meeting, on 13 June 2012, in Chessington, near London (UK), EWC members, UNI Europa and G4S signed a new agreement for a European Works Council.
The signature of the agreement comes after nearly two years of negotiations which saw on one side, the EWC Steering Committee members and UNI Europa, and on the other G4S management.
All in all, the outcome of the negotiations are quite satisfactory. A number of provisions in the agreement were extensively improved.
For instance, the new agreement includes the definitions of the recast EWC directive 2009/38/EC on information, consultation and transnational matters and lowers the threshold for EWC representation to 150 employees, thus giving Slovenia and Malta a seat in this body.
The role of the Steering Committee has also been strengthened. Now, it can be involved if there are concerns about the appointment of an EWC member and can ask to investigate in case of dismissals of an EWC member to ensure this was not connected to his /her work in the EWC. The Steering Committee will also be responsible for selecting the working languages for the Annual meeting and will be able to hold their meetings in one the countries where they come from.
At present, the whole body counts 33 representatives, 3 more than the old agreement and representatives’ term will last for five years with a possibility to be re-elected or re-appointed. A right to training, including English language training, will be ensured for each EWC representatives and Steering Committee members will monitor that this right is enforced in every country, especially in Eastern Europe where a lesser compliance with EWC representatives’ rights has been detected.
Finally, more communication facilities will be provided to prepare meetings in advance and cash advance may be requested to local management in case employees’ representatives incur unreasonable upfront costs to participate in the Annual meeting. This latter provision benefits, in particular, representatives from Eastern European countries, which have traditionally lower salaries and are not always in a position to anticipate money needed to participate in EWC meetings especially when this is held in a Western European city where the cost of living is considerably higher.
The EWC Chairman, Peter Fox, said: “the EWC is a body which comprises 23 different nationalities with their culture and traditions as regards workers’ representation and social dialogue but we have always worked well together. I am pleased that after two years of negotiations we could reach a good compromise with management for an improved EWC agreement. As chairman, I will do my best to make sure those rights are put in force and as I have always done in the past, I am ready to help any members which might need assistance in the future. I also thank UNI Europa for assisting in the negotiations and bringing its legal and trade union expertise to the benefit of the whole group, I am confident we can now start working with the company in a spirit of trust and cooperation”
The Agreement, which remains an old “article 13 agreement” (voluntary agreement), is a revision of a series of previous agreements which were initially concluded prior to 15th December 1999 and subsequently renewed (as provided for in Article 3(1) of EU Directive 97/74/EC) and accordingly the provisions of Article 14(1) of Directive 2009/38/EC apply to the Agreement.
G4S is the largest employer on the London Stock Exchange, with operations in more than 125 countries and over 657,000 employees and is specialised in outsourced business processes and facilities in sectors where security and safety risks are considered a strategic threat, with expertise in the assessment and management of security and safety risks for buildings, infrastructure, materials, valuables and people.