International labour law has taken the view that, in certain cases, the establishment of a representative body of employees that operates at transnational level is justified. This is the case, for example, where employees of one undertaking perform work in different Member States, meaning that cooperation between national representatives of employees is insufficient to protect and represent their common interests. Therefore, a separate employee representation system has been developed for multinational companies.
Community-scale representatives of employees are mandatory for EU undertakings in the following cases:
- the employer is a community-scale undertaking or a community-scale group of undertakings; the employer is a European company or a European Cooperative Society.
A community-scale undertaking is an undertaking which employs in the Member States a total of at least 1000 employees, out of whom there are in at least two Member States at least 150 employees in each Member State.
A community-scale group of undertakings is a group of undertakings with:
- a total of at least 1,000 employees in the Member States;
- at least two undertakings, belonging to the group, in different Member States;
- at least one undertaking, belonging to the group, with at least 150 employees in one Member State and at least one undertaking, belonging to the group, with at least 150 employees in another Member State.
The employees of a community-scale undertaking or group of undertakings shall have the right to elect from among themselves a works council tasked with representing and defending the interests of all employees in the central management.
Employees of a European company and European cooperative society are represented by the representative body of employees that is also tasked with representing and defending the interests of all employees in the central management.
The election, powers, rights, and obligations of representatives of community-scale employees shall be governed by the Community-scale Involvement of Employees Act .