The industrial relations landscape looks set to change significantly after Brexit. Under EU Directives n°94/45/CE and n°2009/38/CE, companies or groups employing at least 1,000 employees in the EU with at least 150 employees in at least two different member states must implement a European works council (EWC). This will continue to apply during the current withdrawal deal transition period up to the end of 2020.
But if there is no deal, UK regulations will be amended so that no new request to set up EWCs can be made after the UK’s withdrawal. For EU companies with an EWC, the UK workforce will no longer be represented. This will have a huge impact on the industrial relations arrangements in companies with an EWC. Likely consequences include: resettlement of the EWC if the applicable legislation was UK law; amendment of the EWC’s scope, including assessing whether UK operations can be covered under the EWC Directive of 6 May 2009; and the impact on employee information and consultation requirements for cross-border questions.