A voluntary agreement between a multinational company operating in Europe and its workforce to establish an information and consultation procedure on transnational issues: that is, a European works council. Companies with an agreement of this kind in place are exempt from the requirements of the European Works Council Directive 1994 under Article 13, provided they negotiated the voluntary agreement before 22 September 1996. It has been estimated that there are approximately 400 of these voluntary agreements in large European companies, most of which were signed in the two years immediately prior to the 1996 deadline. The advantage to companies of concluding this kind of agreement in advance of the directive was that it gave maximum scope to develop an information and consultation procedure suited to the structure and traditions of the firm. [See subsidiarity.]
Subjects: Human Resource Management.