Temporary arrangements for transnational meetings during the COVID-19 crisis – Joint European Trade Union Federations’ Recommendations

26 Oct 2020

In March 2020, the European Trade Union Federations (ETUFs) published joint guidelines for EWC, SNB and SE Works Council members and coordinators on how these bodies should operate during and deal with the COVID-19 crisis.

Hoping the health crisis would not last more than a few months, we recommended postponing EWC / SE-WC meetings as well as meetings to (re-)negotiate an agreement until the crisis is over and face-to-face meetings permitted again.

However, six months later and social distancing and travel restrictions will continue to prevent face-to-face SNB, EWC and SE-WC meetings for a considerable time to come.

Democracy at work does not stop with the Covid-19 crisis! It is more important than ever to claim our rights to be informed, consulted and to take part in company decisions which may impact jobs and workers’ income.

ETF and fellow ETUFs have therefore decided to revise their recommendations. Although digital tools like videoconferencing must not replace the right to face-to-face meetings and do not allow for the same quality of dialogue and networking, we understand that online or hybrid meetings with simultaneous interpretation may serve as a very temporary solution.

Against this background, we have updated our recommendations on the principles and arrangements which should govern the temporary use of videoconferencing for transnational (SNB, EWC, SE-WC, training) meetings. They are available in CZ, EN, ES, DE, FR, IT, NL, SV and can be downloaded at your right.

However, we stress that face-to-face meetings are the norm to build up effective SNB, EWC and SE-WC work and robust communication amongst delegates. Digital tools like videoconferencing must not replace their rights to face-to-face meetings and as soon as the situation will allow it, physical meetings must become the normal way for an SNB, EWC or SE-WC to operate again.