Most requests for advice concern reorganizations. They take place in many forms and sizes. They can vary from limited adjustments to organisation-wide innovation processes. Think, for instance, of merging departments, remodelling a department, adjusting the top structure, altering the entire organisation or a multi-annual business reconstruction. Announcing a reorganization often leads to unrest and concerns among staff about possible job losses or position changes. It is precisely in a reorganization process that the works council must avail itself best of its powers, in the interest of the organisation and the employees.
The work council’s role in a reorganization
The role played by the work council in a reorganization is determined first and foremost by its character. In case of the intention to adjust one single, specific department the advisory procedure will be relatively brief and unambiguous. However, an advisory process in more complicated reorganizations will often run through several stages and can sometimes even last several years. One might think, for example, of the various stages that can run from a policy intention, via research by internal and/or external experts, a statement of intent or resolution in principle, further elaboration or a pilot, up to eventually an implementation order and implementation. The works council can play a part in all those stages.
Major changes in an organisation
The works council and the management can disagree about whether a change of organization is ‘major’. After all, the works council has advisory rights only in case of a major change of organization or in the division of powers in the business. Another matter under discussion can be whether the works council has been timely consulted for advice. For this should happen at a time that advice by the works council can still substantially influence the decision that the management wants to take.
In all these aspects Unger Nolet Lawyers can provide the works council or the management with excellent legal assistance. We have over 30 years of experience in assisting and advising reorganizations. We can supply you with the right argumentation, a careful approach, specifying consequences for staff members or drafting an advice. We provide works councils and managements with what they need to realize effective employee participation and decision-making.