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European Industrial Citizenship - EU Social Policy at Work

Helen Bicknell

Trade Unions need to promote the benefits of EU Social Policy to UK workers in order to inform them of their rights to consultation, information and even participation in economic decision-making at the workplace. The EU Social Policy rulings on Information and Consultation at the workplace, European Works Councils in multinational companies and the directive on the European Company are little known and hardly implemented in the UK. This paper argues that UK and European trade unions should work harder to spread information about these policies. This would greatly improve not only workplace rights for UK employees, but also lead to a better and more positive understanding of European social policy. Research done by the author on European Works Councils demonstrated how British employees learned to appreciate these regulations and the benefits they gained from working together with their European colleagues. Their attitude to Europe often changed after learning more about how Industrial Citizenship works in other European Countries, and they were far more willing to identify with their European colleagues than before.

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