After 8 years from its publication and after the bringing of a case for non fulfilment of community obligations by the European Commission against Italy, finally European Directive 94/45/CE regarding European Works Council was implemented in Italy, by Legislative Decree no.74 of 2 April 2002. Before, in 1996,some trade unions associations took the initiative to implement the Directive through an inter-confederal agreement, involving some of the main trade union representations both of employers and of employees. To follow, is the legislative Decree 74/2002 at a glance:

1. Art.1 defines the objective of the legislative decree as the intention to improve the right to information and to consultation of employees in Community-scale undertakings and Community-scale groups of undertakings. To that end, a European Works Council or a procedure for information and consulting employees shall be established in every Community-scale undertaking and every Community-scale group of undertakings.

2. Art.6 states that in order to achieve the objective of the setting up of a European Works Council, a Special Negotiating Body is created and that members of the Special Negotiating Body are appointed by the Trade union organizations, which signed the national collective agreement applied (to the company or to the group of undertakings)together with the works councils of the company or of the group of undertakings.

3. According to art.9,paragraph 6,Italian representatives to the EWC and /or the participants of the information and consultation procedure are appointed on 1/3 by the National Trade union organizations, signing the national collective agreement applied into the company, and on 2/3 by the Works Councils existing within the company or within the group of undertakings, taking into account the composition of the different categories of the employees (blue collar, white collar and management).

4. Art.13 accords a particular protection to the representatives of the SNB, or of the EWC or to the participants to the information and consultation procedure, who are employees of the community scale undertaking or of the community scale group of undertakings. It is about the same protection granted to the shop steward in Italy. To carry out their tasks, these representatives have the right to paid leaves not lower than 8 hours for each three months and to the particular protections fixed by articles 22 and 24 of the Italian Workers ’statute (law no.300 of 20th May 1970). Art.22 states that the works council representatives can be transferred from an establishment to another, only if there is the consent of the Trade Union to which he/she makes part. Art.24 grants the right to works council leaders to take time off work, without pay, for a minimum of 8 days a year, in order to participate in collective bargaining or in the union activities.

5. Art.14 states that the application of this discipline shall have not prejudice to the application of Italian law concerning collective dismissals and transfer of undertaking.

This Legislative Decree 74/2002 entered into force on 9 May 2002.

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