Rules for social dialogue: establish them now to ensure proper functioning for the next four years

Legal Eubdate
10 December 2020

After the Social Elections, a new Works Council (WC) and/or Committee for Prevention and Protection at the Workplace (CPPW) will be established. How can you take the lead and ensure its proper functioning? The installation meeting and the internal regulations of these bodies will define the framework for social dialogue in your company for the next four years. In order to ensure a future-proof regime, thorough preparation will be necessary, including an evaluation of the functioning during the previous period.

The installation meeting: a new start

When?  The installation meeting of the WC and/or CPPW must be held within 30 days after the time limit for appealing against the result of the Social Elections (Y + 45 at the latest). In the event of proceedings, this period is 30 days from the final judicial decision validating the elections. If a WC and/or CPPW has already been set up in your company during the previous Social Elections, this installation meeting is often organised within a shorter period as specified in the (old) internal regulations. Note that any arrangements for postal voting put in place to deal with the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic may have a slight impact on the time limits.

What items are on the agenda?  The president, the vice-president, the secretary and the alternate secretary are appointed. The new internal regulations are drawn up.

The basic information is not yet dealt with at the installation meeting. This information must be communicated to the WC/CPPW within two months of their (re)election. You must organise an extraordinary meeting at least 15 days and not more than two months after this communication.

The internet regulations: an important instrument for an effective social dialogue

The internal regulations must contain a number of mandatory provisions, such as the rules to be observed concerning the conducting of meetings (here is an exhaustive list for the WC and for the CPPW). The first thing to do is to check whether there is a model established by the joint committee that you must use as a basis.

Even if they are only optional, you will certainly be better off agreeing on other details in the internal regulations. Among these, the presence and/or decision quorum is an important point. It will enable you to avoid deadlock situations by avoiding the unanimity rule, which would otherwise prevail in the absence of a provision to the contrary.

Golden tip: get off to a good start for four years of succesful functioning

Well-considered management of the agenda, the conducting and content of meetings and the information for the personnel will help to avoid pitfalls and to maintain control, which is essential for ensuring good social relations. These tips will help you to build a sustainable social partnership.

Now is the time to think carefully and evaluate the functioning of the WC and/or CPPW in the previous four years and carefully draw up the internal regulations for the new WC and/or CPPW.

You can count on our experience to assist you in this reflection and drafting exercise.