On 3 February project partners first met at the kick-off meeting in Ljubljana to review project activities, financial and administrative matters.
In the beginning, the findings of the project WIM, which was completed in December 2013, were summarized. The project is an indicator of a very different organization of workers’ participation in management in the countries of former Yugoslavia. Knowledge, experience and good practice examples that the project partners received throughout the project, offer possible starting points for future regulatory framework. Anze Hiršl, Senior Legal Adviser at ZDS and Project Manager of WIM and WIM2, emphasized the importance of understanding the mechanisms of national and European social dialogue and the importance of encouraging employee participation in decision-making processes. In none of the participating countries of the former Yugoslavia Works Councils, taking into account national legal basis, can be established. Therefore, the project activities gave an opportunity to strengthen the participation of workers and to raise general awareness of the target groups about the importance of workers’ participation in management; the current state of play status is an indicator that the follow-up activities in this area are necessary. In the frame of project WIM2 both employers’ and employees’ representatives and other stakeholders will acquaint themselves with the relevant EU legislation and policies and in accordance with them prepare a model or improve the existing legislation on employees’ involvement.
Vice-President of the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) for Europe and Deputy Director of European and International Affairs at the Confederation of German Employers (BDA) Renate Hornung-Draus summarized in her presentation the historical development of workers’ involvement, namely in the light of three key directives from this field: European Works Council Directive, Directive on the protection of workers from collective redundancies and the Directive on transfer of undertakings. Adopted directives were, with regard to the very different national regimes of Member States, an important step forward in the negotiation processes. She also mentioned that the new European Commission aims to merge the three directives into one, which, in the opinion of many and due to so many different regulations and national specifics, represents a major challenge. At the end she pointed out that the model of employee participation in management, which will be prepared by the project partners for each participating country, should take into account the institutional arrangement of each country, culture and national characteristics of the labor law.
Legal Adviser at the Croatian Employers’ Association (HUP) Biserka Sladovic presented the harmonization course and urgent steps carried out in Croatia’s accession process to the EU. Labour legislation has been harmonized with the “acquis communitaire”; employee participation in management has been regulated in the frame of Labour law. In June 2014 the term of European Works Councils was excluded from the labor legislation and is now a separate law.
The importance of the employee involvement and participation as a pillar of sound business management was presented by legal advisor to the Center for participatory management Jasna Erman. She summarized the regulatory framework and practical experience of worker’s co-management in Slovenia, which is theoretically very advanced, but in practice it is being introduced very slowly. She also presented the necessary measures to stimulate a faster development of workers’ co- management.
Anže Hiršl presented the leading topics of the WIM2 project, its work programme, planned project activities and dissemination plan.
Barbara Hrovatin, Project Manager at ZDS, explained the organizational, financial and administrative issues and asked partners to send the expenses claim forms for the costs they had.
Partners agreed on:
- Finding relevant partners (employees’ and government representatives) and creating a national expert group for preparation of a model / starting point for legislation on employee involvement.
With financial support by the European Union.