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Work Council

The works council is an employee-elected representative body within a company or organization known as an internal council. Its main aim is to represent the interests of employees and work with management to improve working conditions and resolve conflicts. In Germany, the works council is mandatory in companies with at least five permanent employees entitled to vote, while in Switzerland it is regulated by staff representatives.

Composition and election

The works council is made up of elected employees. The number of members depends on the size of the company working together. Elections are normally held every four years and are subject to certain legal regulations to ensure the democratic representation of employees. In Germany, the Works Constitution Act regulates the election and rights of the works council, while in Switzerland the Participation Act serves as the basis.

Duties and rights

The works council has several duties and rights, such as the right of co-determination on personnel, social and economic issues, the right to information and consultation and the right to inspect relevant documents. Negotiating works agreements, participating in personnel measures, monitoring compliance with laws and collective agreements and representing employees vis-à-vis the employer are specific tasks.

Representation of interests and conflict resolution

The works council represents the interests of employees: it stands up for fair working conditions, fair pay and compliance with health and safety regulations, both internally vis-à-vis the company management and externally. Its involvement in decisions that affect employees can help to avoid or resolve conflicts. Long-term solutions in the interests of all those involved can be found through constructive dialog between the works council and the employer.

European and Swiss perspectives

In the European context, employee co-determination:The legal regulation of works councils varies from country to country and is mandatory in many countries. In Switzerland, staff representatives play an important role in the representation of employees' interests:Despite some differences from the German model, also in the system. Although works councils and staff representatives are organized differently in Europe, they pursue the common goal of strengthening the rights and interests of employees and working to ensure good working conditions.