Impact of Brexit on the European Works Councils

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    On 13 March 2019, the European Commission published a communication on the legal implications of Brexit for the European Works Councils.

    This communication provided that, subject to the transition period provided for in the withdrawal agreement, as of the withdrawal date, the EU rules in the field of information and consultation of workers at transnational level, in particular Directive 2009/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 May 2009 on the establishment of a European Works Council or a procedure in Community-scale undertakings and Community-scale groups of undertakings for the purposes of informing and consulting employees, will no longer apply to the United Kingdom.

    • In the meantime, the withdrawal agreement has been concluded. Article 126 of this agreement provides that there shall be a transition or implementation period, which shall start on the date of entry into force of this agreement and end on 31 December 2020. In accordance with Article 127.1 of this agreement, Union law shall be applicable to and in the United Kingdom during the transition period. Article 127.6 goes on to provide that 'unless otherwise provided in this agreement, during the transition period, any reference to Member States in the Union law applicable pursuant to paragraph 1, including as implemented and
      applied by Member States, shall be understood as including the United Kingdom.'
       
    • Thus, after the transition period, Community-scale undertakings or groups of undertakings with a link to the United Kingdom will have to analyse the impact of Brexit on existing European Works Councils or those being set up. At that time, the United Kingdom will effectively become a third country vis-à-vis the Union.

      In this context, reference can be made to the analysis in the above-mentioned European Commission 
      Communication of 13 March 2019.