Syndex, pioneering consultancy firm in Europe serving employee representatives
While the European Commission noted the real added value of European Works Councils (EWCs) in promoting European social dialogue, in a report published in 2018, it also highlighted the fact that they could do more, particularly on the application of workers' right to consultation. It is within this context that Syndex wishes to inform EWCs about the solutions which exist to help them fully exercise their role.
>> For the past 20 years, European Works Councils have been offering workers the chance to influence their company's strategy before decisions possibly detrimental to employment or working conditions are taken
Through the intermediary of EWCs, established over 20 years ago, management informs and consults employees on significant European-level decisions likely to affect their employment or working conditions. In a follow-up report to revised Directive 2009/38/EC on EWCs, the European Commission highlighted the questionable legal shortcuts taken in transposition and application of workers' right to consultation.
>> Syndex has observed that, in reality, European Works Councils are still too often ignored by company management
Syndex works with numerous EWCs in ten or so European countries on projects addressing key issues such as employment, working conditions, sectoral strategies and energy or ecological transition. Syndex has observed during its work that, too often, EWCs are still ignored by company management, particularly with regards restructuring projects.
As underlined by Jonathan Hayward of the British trade union Unite, employee representatives are not representatives full-time, making dialogue with management not always fair. “When it comes to social dialogue, company management is at a great advantage compared to employee representatives, simply because they know what they're talking about, because they are decision makers. That is why employee representatives need technical experts to properly understand their company's decisions and to analyse whether their company directors are telling the truth. With an expert like Syndex, employees can hold their employers accountable and understand what they are hiding behind strategies”.
>> Syndex wants to assist EWCs in fully exercising their role by giving them the means to substantiate their opinions
With the multinationalisation of economic activities, social dialogue on a number of topics now needs to be pursued at European level: location of activities, health and safety, and companies' corporate responsibility including subcontracting, implementation of transnational strategies and more... Syndex aims to give workers the means to substantiate their opinions, to have an impact in a company's choices and thus strengthen their action.
According to Olivier Laviolette, Syndex Director for Europe, "Syndex provides support services to EWCs to help them better anticipate, propose realistic alternatives, push for the professions of the future and thus prevent social dumping and decisions detrimental to employment and working conditions."
Syndex counts on a team of consultants in its six European offices: Belgium, France, Poland, Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom. Based in these locations, the teams are close to the economic, social and union-based realities of the European Works Councils they support.