Description of the project

  • Summary

    The project INFORMIA, promoted by the Confederation of the Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB), aims to analyze the system of information and consultation at work-place (including the EWC) in four EU member-states and one candidate country, focusing on the new member-states and candidate countries and to offer transnational exchange of experience and best practice examples among the partner countries in order to promote and improve the establishment and functioning of better workplace representation structures and to make a positive impact upon the industrial relations in general in the partner countries - Bulgaria, Italy, France, Ireland and Croatia.

    During the project a survey of the implementation of the information and consultation rights in the countries of the project partners will be undertaken (in companies with at least 50 and more employees), including also MNC-subsidiaries in order to collect appropriate information about the process of implementation of the information and consultation directives and compare the practices in the partner countries. Also National workshops/seminars and a Transnational conference for exchange of information and dissemination of the results of the surveys will be organized in each partner country. The results from the survey, the National workshops/seminars and the Transnational conference should be spread to a broader public via the published National Guides and Transnational Manual on information and consultation and are expected to influence the elaboration of ideas and suggestions for improvement of the legal framework (both European and national) and practical mechanisms for information and consultation rights of the workers and employees in the partner countries and other EU-member states and candidate countries.




  • Background of the project

    The process of implementation of the information and consultations directives in the EU-member states, which started in 2002 shows various trends. In some countries, including also the new member states and even some candidate countries channels of representation had been implemented even before 2002. In 2009 there are four countries in the European Union, where legislation for special representation structures at workplace exists, in another eleven member-states the representation could be implemented mainly through trade unions and in eight member-states it is a mixture, and finally in four member-states the unions are the sole channel, but the legislation provides additional options. In most of the partner countries (France, Italy, Ireland) the representation is either a mixture, or made mainly through trade unions, but in most cases trade unions play an important role in the information and consultation process and representation in the MNC-s via European Works Councils. Also in most cases trade union representatives are key figures in the information and consultation bodies, except for the companies, where trade union is not presented. In most of the countries the works councils and other representative bodies have mainly information functions (for labour, social, economic and financial issues) and consultative (mainly for labour and social issues).

    In comparison, in a candidate country like Croatia the workplace information and consultation was implemented earlier than in some of the member-states (in 1990-s) and some of the main principles of the patterns existing in Central Europe (Austria, Germany) like Works Councils, elected by all the employees from the companies/plants were taken and applied. However in most of the partner countries special legislative requirements for information and consultation bodies in the companies, employing less than 50 people do not exist, and (with exception of Italy) there are no special information and consultation structures in the small and micro-enterprises . The trade unions in general are week or even absent at that level.
    In all partner countries special health and safety structures, elected fully or partially by the employees were established, and in some of the countries (the old member states) they have quite a long experience.

    In countries like Bulgaria, as well as in some other EU member states the adoption of the information and consultation rights was delayed and was challenged by the resistance of the trade unions, who claimed to be the main and usually the only channel for such purposes. As a result, the systems of information and consultations currently exist in less than 10% of the Bulgarian companies with 50 and more employees, not taking into account the companies, where those functions were delegated to the trade union structures using some legal mechanisms. The representation is a little bit better in the subsidiaries of the Multinational companies, especially in those with unionized workforce. According the data of some surveys, in more than 25 % of the subsidiaries of the MNC with unionized workforce there are also systems of information and consultations, in many other subsidiaries the functions for information and consultations were delegated to the trade union representatives. Also in about 1/3 of the Bulgarian subsidiaries of MNC representatives for the EWC were elected - most of them are either trade union members or even trade union representatives at company level. Nevertheless, in many other companies with 50 and more employees owned by Bulgarian investors or MNC-subsidiaries there are neither information and consultation systems, nor trade unions at company level and the employees representation is either too week, or does not exist at all.

    However in some of the partner countries (France and Ireland) there is some experience in the board level workers representation whereas in Bulgaria such representation is possible on the base of consultative vote, according the law, but not for all type of companies. Practices of co-determination could be implemented only on the base of agreement with the employer, but this happens only as exclusion.




  • Trade union experience

    As mentioned above the trade unions play a key role in the information and consultation process in most of the partner countries - in some of the partner countries like Italy and Ireland the workplace representation bodies usually are composed by trade union members or representatives (with exception of the companies, where trade unions are not presented). In most of the partner countries there exists the so called 'multi-unionism' at workplace, however in France, Italy, Bulgaria and to some degree in Croatia it is based on the multi-unionism existing on national level (several national confederations and some non-affiliated trade unions) and in Ireland it is based mainly on the multi-unionism, caused by professional and occupational differences. In most cases there is more then one union, represented at company level and this places the industrial relations, collective bargaining and the workplace representation, including the way of establishment of the representative structures, their elections, negotiating with employers the framework of their activities, their functioning and results into a very specific environment. In comparison to some countries in Central Europe there is a competition between the trade unions for influence among the workers and employees. In Bulgaria that kind of competition was one of the reasons for the delay of the implementation of information and consultation systems and for the union resistance to the government suggestions for implementation of mixed representation-both by unions and by the workers' representatives, elected by all the workers and employees. However, in most of the partner countries the workplace representation, even if it is mixed has been existing for long time and even if there are some problems in the interaction between the various trade unions or between them and the separate representative structures (if they exist), they are already well known and could be solved in appropriate ways. Bulgaria has only 3 years of experience in the information and consultation process, using alternative channels and there are either problems, not well known for the trade unions, or a strong resistance and delay of the practical establishment of the information and consultation bodies.




  • Aims and objectives of the project

    Aims of the project
    • To improve the capacity, exchange of experience and knowledge of trade unions', workers' representatives (including EWC members) and employers' representatives form the EU member-states and candidate countries with regard to the main issues of information and consultation in their respective countries and in Europe.

    • To enhance the cooperation and coordination between the social partners (trade unions and employers) for a better implementation of the mechanisms of workplace information and consultation.

    • To improve the implementation of the EU standards for information, consultations and legal framework and practices of workplace representation; the process of coordination between the information and consultation and collective bargaining at workplace level.

    • To contribute for the elaboration of draft proposals for changes and amendments in the national laws in the partner countries and in the EU Directives regarding information and consultation and workers' participation.

    • To contribute for the extension of the scope of the companies with 50 and more employees where the systems of workplace information and consultation have been implemented in the partner countries (especially in the new EU-member states - Bulgaria and candidate countries - Croatia).

    Operational objectives
    • To make a survey of the process of establishment and functioning of the information and consultation systems in the companies employing 50 and more employees as well as a survey of the process of election and activities of the representatives in the EWC in the partner countries.

    • To analyze the system of information and consultations at work-place level in the partner countries on the basis of the carried out surveys.

    • To develop National Guides and a Transnational Manual on information and consultation based on the results of the survey and the exchange of experience and best practice examples between the partners.

    • To organize and carry out National workshops seminar in each partner country in order to raise the awareness and spread the knowledge among the main target group.

    • To organize and carry out a Transnational conference in order to present the results of the survey and the project; spread the knowledge and best practice examples to a broader public and other countries/regions and enhance the mainstreaming of the results into other regional contexts.

    • To estabish a network for exchange of experience (via the creation of a project web-site) between the partner countries, other countries and stakeholders in the sphere of information, consultation and worker's representation.

  • Links to the objectives and priorities of the budget heading

    The project is related to the priority objectives of the budget headings as follows:
    It aims to promote transnational actions involving representatives of the new member states (Bulgaria) and candidate countries (Croatia) and also aims the strengthening of the transnational co-operation between workers' and employers' representatives via the participation in the project as a project partner of the biggest representative employers' organization in Bulgaria - The Bulgarian Industrial Association and its involvement in all stages of the project. The project aims to support the objectives and priorities of the Budget heading through the carrying out of the survey on the implementation of the information and consultation rights in the countries of the project partners; development of Transnational Manual and National Guides; organization of a Transnational conference in order to spread the knowledge to a broader public and enhancing the mainstreaming of the results and the products into other regional contexts and amongst other stakeholders and establishment of a network on information and consultation with the participation of the project partners and other interested trade unions, employers' organizations, research institutions and NGOs.




  • Project content, activities and work plan

    To reach the above described aims and operational objectives the project will have the following contents and activities, which will be organised in a duration of 12 months (12/2009 - 12/2010). In the table there are also the person/days for every activity listed:



    PM = Project manager (only from applicant organization - CITUB)
    PE =project expert (one person from CITUB)
    PS = Project staff (level: expert, researcher, trainer), one person per partner, the number of person/ days are for each activity the same for all partners
    AD = Administration staff (level: project coordinator, project assistant) one person per partner, the number of person/days are for each activity the same for all partners



         1.  Preparatory phase (11/2009 - 3/2010):

    Duration:

    Activities:

    Person/ days

     

     

     

    01.12.2009
    -
    01.02.2010

     

    Setting-up the project team and preparatory activities

     

     

    01.12.2009
    -
    30.12.2009

    Preparation and Kick-off-meeting of the project:

    1. Organisation of the project group (team of the project);
    2. Partner arrangements (joint agreements on division of tasks, time schedule, communication procedure, information campaign strategy, dissemination strategy, evaluation indicators
    3. Setting up the financial regulations and rules, establishment and elaboration of a continuous control, monitoring and reporting systems in order to evaluate and monitor the project), etc.,
    4. Kick-off-meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria
    5. Start up of a creation of a web-site of the project

    PM: 8 p/d
    PE: 4 p/d
    PS: 5 x 2 p/d
    AD: 5 x 4 p/d

     

    01.01.2010
    -
    01.02.2010

    1. Creation of a web-site of the project (and its maintaining during the project life cycle)
    2. Development of dissemination and mainstreaming plan and strategy of the project

    PM: 5 p/d
    AD: 6x2 p/d

    01.01.2010
    -
    01.03.2010:

     

    Research and analysis activities:

     

     

    01.01.2010
    -
    01.02.2010

    Developing an analytic framework for the survey of the process of establishment and functioning of the information and consultation systems in the companies employing 50 and more employees as well as a survey of the process of election and activities of the representatives in the EWC in the partner countries.

    PM: 2 p/d
    PE: 10 p/d
    PS: 5 x 5 p/d
    AD: 6 x 2 p/d

     

    01.02.2010
    -
    01.03.2010

    2.Collecting figures and data for the aims of the survey according the analytic framework in each partner country.

    PE: 6 p/d
    PS: 5 x 8 p/d



         2.  Main events (04-08/2010):

    Duration:

    Activities:

    Person/ days:

     

     

    Developing National Guides on information and consultation

     

     

    01.03.2010
    -
    15.04.2010

    1.Documentation of the results of the survey in the partner countries (analysis papers of the workers' representation at European and national level and in the EWC - publication of the results in national guides and on the web-site of the project
    2. Elaboration of project leaflets in each partner language, publication and dissemination

    PM: 2 p/d
    PE: 7 p/d
    PS: 5 x 4 p/d
    AD: 6 x 2 p/d

     

    01.03.2010
    -
    15.04.2010

    Second project meeting in Rome/Italy

    PM: 2 p/d
    PE: 2 p/d
    PS 5 x 2 p/d
    AD 5 x 2 p/d

    15.04.2010
    -
    15.07.2010

     

    Developing a common Transnational Manual on information and consultation:

     

     

    15.04.2010
    -
    15.07.2010

    1. Providing information about the legal framework of the partner countries, related to workers' representation rights and information and consultation systems

    2. Providing case-studies and best practice examples

    3. Providing recommendations for the improvement of the mechanisms of the establishment and functioning of the information and consultation systems (project meeting in 07/2010 in Zagreb/Croatia)

    4. Translating the manual in all partner languages and its publishing in English in 250 copies; on the web-site and on the web-sites of each partners in the respective national languages

    PM: 9 p/d
    PE: 7 p/d
    PS: 5 x 7 p/d
    AD: 6 x 3 p/d

    01.05.2010
    -
    01.07.2010

     

    Organising national workshops in each partner country:

     

     

    01.05.2010
    -
    01.07.2010

    Organising a national workshop in each partner country to present the results of the analysis and survey (2-day-workshop 05-06/2010), in each partner country

    PM: 2 p/d
    PE: 3 p/d
    PS: 5 x 3 p/d
    AD: 6 x 11 p/d

    01.08.2010
    -
    30.09.2010

     

    Organizing a Transnational Conference on Information and consultation and workers' representation in Europe

     

     

    01.08.2010
    -
    30.09.2010

    Organising a Trans-national conference (07/2010) in order to disseminate the results of the project to a broader public (2-day-conference, in 09, in Sofia/ Bulgaria)

    PM: 10 p/d
    PE: 2 p/d
    PS: 5 x 2 p/d
    AD: 6 x 2 p/d



         3.  Follow up (08/2010-11/2010):

    Duration:

    Activities:

    Person/ days:

    01.10.2010
    -
    30.11.2010

     

    Organisation of the further dissemination and mainstreaming of the project results and the Transnational Guide, follow-up of the workshops, final evaluation, preparing end-reports and financial justifications, final project meeting in Ireland in 11/2010.

    PM: 5 p/d
    PE: 4 p/d
    PS: 5 x 4 p/d
    AD: 5 x 4 p/d




  • Methods of the surve

    The survey will be carried out with the aim to document the existing studies and information about the workplace representation models in the partner countries as well as in other EU-member states in order to identify the main features of the national models and their degree of correspondence with EU-directives.
    There will be three phases of the survey:


    • Development of conceptual (analytical) framework for the survey done by the Bulgarian expert (from CITUB), which includes preparation of questionnaire(s) and instructions for the processing and analysis of the collected data and information.
    • Analysis of the data and comparative analysis
    • Presentation of the results of the Survey during the national workshops and the Transnational conference

  • Main products and expected results

    The main products and expected results from the project INFORMIA are the following:


    Description of the main products:


    • The National Guides and the Transnational Manual on Information and Consultation:

      All the results, conclusions and recommendation from the survey carried out in each partner country will be summarized and published in the so called National guide in the national languages of all the partners. Those national guides will become part of a common manual, which will contain also the following additional parts:

      • Description of the situation and status of implementation of information and consultation mechanisms and workers' representation in the partner countries;
      • Description of the analytic framework of the survey;
      • Analysis of the results of the survey (common issues, differences in the partner countries)
      • Conclusions and recommendation for improvement of the legislative framework and practices of information, consultation and workers' representation at work place
      • Annex with links, further information, etc.
      • Description of the results and conclusions from the national workshops carried out in each partner country
    • The national workshops:
      • Develop and offer a workshop in each partner country in order to spread the knowledge among the main target groups. Basis for the national workshops will be the national guides and the first draft of the common manual which will be finished at the projects? end with the documentation of the results of the national workshops and the trans-national conference.
    • The Trans-national conference:
      • Organising a final conference in order to spread the knowledge to a broader public, mainly among other European trade union organisations. The conference shall also encourage other European trade unions to undertake activities in their countries in order to enhance the workers representation at workplace level and the their active involvement in the processes of information and consultation. The conference shall also encourage the future networking and enhance the further exchange of experiences, best practice and information on information, consultation and workers' representation in Europe

    Expected results

    • Analytic framework with common indicators for carrying out of national surveys;
    • Analysis of the national situation and comparative analysis of the situation in Europe with regard to legislation and level of implementation of information and consultation rights and workers' representation;
    • National Guides (brochures) of the partners about the results of the survey reflecting the national situation, legislation and level of implementation of information and consultation rights and workers' representation, etc. in the national languages;
    • Transnational Manual on information, consultation and workers representation containing the results, conclusions and recommendations from the surveys carried out by the partner organizations, the description of the analytic framework and summary of the National guides. The Manual will contain as well recommendations for the European trade unions to enhance the further implementation of information, consultation and workers' representation;
    • National workshops/seminars in the partner countries;
    • Trans-national conference and establishment of the future networking on information, consultation and workers' representation;
    • Dissemination with a set of dissemination materials and tools (development of a dissemination strategy, creation of a project web-site, project leaflets, etc).


  • Target groups

    The main target groups of the project INFORMIA will be:


    • Employees and workers' representatives, trade union representatives at workplaces, both involved or not involved in the special information and consultation bodies (including EWC).
    • Workers and employees from the surveyed companies in the framework of the project.
    • Employers or their representatives, delegated to deal with industrial relations issues;
    • Trade union representatives at national, sectoral and regional level


  • Sector involved in the project

    In the project companies (with at least 50 employees) from various manufacturing sectors (representative) should be involved like metal industry, chemistry, textile and clothing, wood and paper, food processing, production of building materials. Also companies (with at least 50 employees) from mining and some services (electricity supply, water supply, construction, communication, transport, distribution and tourism) could be involved.




  • Aspects concerning the involvement of the social partners in the project

    The target groups of the project are mainly trade union structures, representatives and members. The project is aimed on the improvement of the capacity of trade union structures, representatives, experts and members with regard to workplace information and consultation rights, mechanisms for establishment and functioning of the information and consultation systems at national level and of the EWC.
    In all the activities of the project employers' organization (BIA- Bulgaria) and its branch and regional structures will take an active part. In most of the activities experts from the employers' organization will support the project research team. Special role is given also to the employer's organization - BIA - they will provide the expert team for the implementation of the special evaluation of the project and the elaboration of the dissemination plan and strategy. There is also a scope for attracting individual employers and members of their company management teams during some stages of the implementation of the project.



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