The Association of Employers of Slovenia together with partner otganisations, organized at the end of the project WIM an International conference titled “Establishing quality relationships with employee representatives”.


At the conference a content regarding the provision of rights of employee representatives to participate in management was presented, taking into account the established practice, which was formed through the decades, and the case-law as an important complement to the legislation. The event was an opportunity to express participants’ opinions and expose the dilemmas they face in daily operation and for a fruitful exchange of experience and good practice.

The ZDS coordinated a one-year project »WIM:Workers' involvement for better and sustainable management in undertakings« aimed at promoting the EU legislation on employee involvement at the national and international levels and at improving the awareness of this issue in project countries. Participating company representatives will be able to use the knowledge gained in establishing employee involvement in decision-making processes. Consequently, this will have a positive impact on change management in the region and improve bipartite social dialogue at the sectoral and company levels of partner countries where social dialogue is not yet sufficiently developed.

Before the official start of the conference, project conclusions were presented to media representatives. Anže Hiršl from the Association of Employers of Slovenia (ZDS) discussed the framework, the advantages and the results of project WIM, stressing the role of works councils in social dialogue and the attitude towards this issue in Slovenian companies. Mile Boškov, Executive President of the Business Confederation of Macedonia (BCM), stated that the project was extremely valuable for Macedonia, where the knowledge on this topic still greatly differs from the actual situation in local companies. Miro Mulešković, project manager at the Montenegrin Employers Federation (MEF), underlined the importance of knowledge transfer from Slovenia to Montenegro—a country still lacking a system of works councils in companies.

In his welcome speech, ZDS Secretary General, Jože Smole, stressed the importance of quality social dialogue at all levels, as this leads to better, more sustainable business decisions where the interests of all stakeholders are considered. Good social dialogue cannot be imposed, it has to be constructed. This project presented a unique opportunity to think again about what we are trying to achieve with social dialogue and to spread best practices by informing all stakeholders about them.

Next, Senior Legal Adviser at ZDS, Anže Hiršl, discussed how to establish good relations with employee representatives, how to balance the interests of all stakeholders, which parties employers have to talk to and on what topics, what precisely social dialogue entails and what good social dialogue means. He explained the levels and ways of employee participation in decision-making processes, summed up the competences of union representatives and employee representatives and enumerated various modes of cooperation (informing, counseling, joint decision making). Finally, he discussed the role of European Works Councils. 

Conference participants also became familiar with the German and Austrian models of employee participation in management. Martin Eckstein from the Confederation of German Employers' Associations (BDA) presented the system of joint decision-making and the role of works councils at the company level, and Christoph Kainz from the Federal Economic Chamber of Austria (WKO) discussed the plan of mutual understanding and the system of approval.

The current social dialogue situation in Slovenia was presented by trade union representative Andrej Zorko from the Association of Free Trade Unions of Slovenia (ZSSS).





The event is organised in the framework of the project »Workers’ involvement for better and sustainable management in undertakings in Slovenia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia (WIM)«, which is co-funded by the European Commission.