CESI responds to consultation on workers’ information & consultation rights: How to give public administration staff full rights

Today, CESI submitted its response to the European Commission’s first-phase social partner consultation on a consolidation of the EU directives on information and consultation of workers. As a European umbrella organisation representing numerous national public administration trade unions, this consultation is of particular importance to CESI.

CESI responds to consultation on workers’ information & consultation rights: How to give public administration staff full rights

This is because there are currently no EU-wide rules in place that give public administrations workers the right to information and consultation. On the contrary: They are explicitly or implicitly excluded from the existing directives.* For the last year CESI has been working to change this. It has done so through the EU Social Dialogue Committee ‘Central government administrations’ (SDC CGA) -of which CESI is a member- and also by means of a special Europe Academy project, which dedicated one of its annual symposiums to this subject last week.**

In this context, the European Commission’s consultation is a welcome opportunity for CESI to express once again its view on this topic and justify the importance of granting the fundamental right to information and consultation to all workers, including to public administration workers:

Given the specific circumstances in the sector, the ideal solution to give central administration workers a full right to information and consultation is a binding social partner agreement as currently negotiated on in the SDC CGA.*** An extension of the personal scope of application of the three directives to public administration staff should however be pursued in case such an agreement cannot be reached.

A recast or consolidation of the three directives is not considered to be the ideal solution for a more accessible and transparent legislative framework. Indeed, while the three directives all concern the right to information and consultation, they address different situations. A recast of the directives may affect these specificities and lead to an over-simplification of the directives which would lose in weight. A separate revision is therefore the preferred option.

• In the case of a revision, adopting a common and more extensive definition of the terms ‘information’ and ‘consultation’ would provide a higher degree of clarity, consistency and legal security in the application of information and consultation provisions than is the case under the current legislative framework. Moreover, the importance of time and appropriateness of information and consultation should be underscored in the definition: Information and consultation should happen in such a way as to enable workers or their representatives to effectively undertake in-depth assessments a exchanges of views. Information and consultation loses its value if made a formality which is completed just before a decision is taken or a measure undertaken by an employer.

For more information about CESI’s response to the consultation please follow this link.

*See directives 98/59/EC on collective redundancies,  2001/23/EC on transfers of undertakings and 2002/14/EC on a general framework relating to information and consultation of workers.

** The CESI Europe Academy is CESI’s training centre. Each year, it engages in usually two projects with the financial support of the European Commission. These projects provide CESI’s members with the possibility of delving deeper into current social and political issues in Europe and engaging them in debates with policy-makers and international experts through the seminars at the heart of each project. The topic of the project for 2015, discussed at a major symposium in Dublin on June 25-26, has been ‘Better anticipate change and restructuring in public administrations in Europe: The role of information and consultation of workers’. Please follow this link for further information about the Dublin conference.

*** This reflects the position expressed by the committee in its response to the consultation, which can be accessed here (follow this link for the French version). CESI supports the committee’s opinion but chose to also issue an own position, thus going beyond the committee’s text.

For further information please contact:

Agathe Smyth
Policy Advisor EU sectoral social dialogue
Tel.: +32 2 282 18 65
Email: smyth@cesi.org