This research project aims to identify common and best practice as well as individual successes and problems experienced in association with European Works Councils. It is hoped that by sharing these experiences, companies will be able to learn from each other. 

In 1996, the IPA set out in a programme of seminars to identify the concerns of companies which were already grappling with the EWC Directive. Those seminars led to the popular booklet "European Works Councils: a guide to effective consultation and representation". A number of areas of concern emerged during the programme, and it is those issues which formed the starting point for this second research project. 

The research is largely qualitative, based on interviews with representatives both of management and of EWC delegates in a number of sample companies. It is clear from this research that EWCs had posed common problems and reaped common benefits, despite the variety of interpretations of the directive and the range of approaches taken to its implementation. 

The project finds that EWCs are working best in those companies where there is a clearly thought-out policy on the role of the council, and notes various problems, such as doubts over the legitimacy of the EWC in the decision-making processes, which make EWCs less successful. 

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