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Area II / Unit 1 ‘Worker participation Project evaluation

Digital solutions to provide better information
on companies and their structures:
comments from a key stakeholder
Dr. Sigurt Vitols
European Trade Union Institute
Presentation for the European Commission Conference on “Company
Law in the Digital Age”
Brussels, 2 October 2015
Main points of presentation
Current situation does NOT fulfill minimum information
needs of workers and their representatives
Number of employees, ownership, group structure, basic
financial data a ‘black box’ in unlisted companies
Cost + information overload arguments against
transparency DO NOT apply to bulk of companies
‘Red rags’ for TUs – SUP, digital X-border company
registration, X-border transfer of registered office
Letterbox companies
● Undermining social standards
● Tax evasion
How can we identify ‘serious’ companies?
Information needs of European trade unions
Policy evaluation – impact of legislation on e.g.
Societas Europaea/European Company (SE)
● EU Cross Border Merger Directive
Employee numbers key for trade unions
Often triggered by minimum employee numbers, e.g.
5 employees for German works councils
25 employees in Sweden for board level worker representation
ETUI’s SEEurope traces development of SEs since 2003
Network of correspondents from each EU/EEA country
● Regular check of national registries + TED for SEs
● Commissioned research by Lexidale on Cross Border
Mergers and worker participation
Current situation: “Looking for a needle in a haystack”
Some examples from ETUI research
70% of SEs are “UFOs”
43% of SEs not listed in Tenders Electronic Daily
(TED) (Sept 2013)
National registries lack basic information e.g. # of employees
on 1689 of 2423 SEs (Sept 2015)
TED also lacks basic information on SEs e.g. agreements on
worker participation
Lexidale study of CBMs involving worker participation
Information not available for 33% of CBMs on:
# of employees in ‘merged’ companies
Relationship between merging companies (e.g. members of
same company group)
Agreements on worker representation arrangements,
employment impact of merger etc. often missing
A cost-effective digital solution for nonfinancial reporting?
Main cost of ESG reporting: “glossy” publications?
ESG data collection small percentage of total costs
ESG reporting in Europe through XBRL (eXtensible
Business Reporting Language)???
Cost range of non-financial reporting for large companies (€ 000)
Source: Study for COM by CSES (2011: iv)
THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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