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Area II / Unit 1 ‘Worker participation Project evaluation

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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
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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
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Letterbox companies
● Undermining social standards
● Tax evasion
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How can we identify ‘serious’ companies?
Information needs of European trade unions
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Policy evaluation – impact of legislation on e.g.
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Societas Europaea/European Company (SE)
● EU Cross Border Merger Directive
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Employee numbers key for trade unions
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Often triggered by minimum employee numbers, e.g.
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5 employees for German works councils
25 employees in Sweden for board level worker representation
ETUI’s SEEurope traces development of SEs since 2003
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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
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Current situation: “Looking for a needle in a haystack”
Some examples from ETUI research
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70% of SEs are “UFOs”
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43% of SEs not listed in Tenders Electronic Daily
(TED) (Sept 2013)
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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
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Information not available for 33% of CBMs on:
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# 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?
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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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