Beyond the Formal Information and Consultation Agenda
Preceding chapters have examined the formal European information and consultation role intended for EWCs as laid down in the Directive, together with the networks established to facilitate the undertaking of such a role. This chapter assesses initiatives taken by EWC representatives to move beyond the formal information and consultation role defi ned in the Directive. Chapter 1 noted that a rarely stated but underlying purpose of the Commission led by Delors during the preparatory stages of the Directive was the promotion of European-level industrial relations processes and institution building (Rhodes 1992; Ross 1995), which were expected to ‘spill over’ from EWC activities. Should such processes and institution building emerge on a large scale, some of the limitations of the Directive would have been overcome in practice, thus supporting the view of those that saw potential in the Directive. Previous chapters demonstrated that institution building is required if articulation between EWCs and trade union organisations is to be achieved. The themes of institution building and articulation are thus central to this chapter and are examined in three sections which, in turn, address the support EWC activities can provide to the achievement of some traditional trade union objectives, the establishment of trade union alliances and world works councils using the platform provided by the Directive, and the extension of the information and consultation agenda to embrace negotiation.