Democracy at work

EESC opinion: Democracy at work

Key points


  • supports democracy at work, as it makes companies more resilient, economically successful and better able to deliver on employment and decent work. Successful forms of democratic participation are also found in the social economy, and cooperatives. The EESC believes that democracy at work should cover all workers, types of work, as well as all workplaces, irrespective of size, sector or other organisational aspects. A reliable European legal framework guiding national systems is essential;
  • calls for increasing the effectiveness of European Works Councils (EWCs) by substantially improving participation rights and resources, sanctioning infringements of such rights, and facilitating access to justice. In this context, the EESC welcomes the European Parliament's recent resolution on the revision of the EWC Directive and calls on the Commission to take legal measures in a timely manner;
  • considers purposeful the aim of the current draft EU Directive on platform work to prevent bogus self-employment. This would strengthen the basis for giving workers a voice in the platform economy when adequate criteria for employment status are fulfilled. The EESC encourages the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU to highlight this aspect, in particular when adopting the Directive, and also to address these workers' potential access to collective coverage in line with the Minimum Wage Directive;
  • believes that the rapid development of artificial intelligence (AI) is posing challenges to democratic standards in the world of work. The EESC supports strengthening employees' data protection rights in a way that secures workers' collective rights and wants to see an adequate digital access to companies and their employees for trade unions to facilitate social dialogue on the use of AI in the workplaces;
  • advocates defining the need for sustainable corporate governance within the European legal framework. Workers and their representatives, as well as civil society, should participate systematically in this process. The EESC supports appropriate efforts to establish a harmonised framework for employee participation on boards, taking into consideration differences between Member States;
  • believes that more democracy in the world of work depends on cooperation of all stakeholders, especially for the green and digital transitions. It is crucial to raise awareness and educate young people for democracy at work and such education should be supported by European Structural Funds.