Information and consultation in small and medium-sized companies (SMEs)

The need to recognise and guarantee workers’ rights for participation or rather for information and consultation is derived primarily from the widespread conviction that collaboration between workers and management can fuel dialogue and facilitate satisfying diverging interests in order to create a new social balance.

Talking about the topic of information and consultation in SMEs, it has to be stressed, that huge differences between Member States regarding levels and forms of participation exist. The levels of workers’ involvement within the different companies vary between weak and strong and between procedural and organised forms of participation. Due to this it is important to see the phenomenon of participation in the context of the system of representation and in the context of the different levels of rights to information and consultation.

The publication you have in your hands assesses the results and experiences of three seminars that were part of the project coordination “Information and consultation in small and medium-sized companies (SMEs)”. One of the key themes all three seminars touched upon was workers’ participation and the implementation of Directive 2002/14/EC about information and consultation in the context of SMEs.

The publication gives and overview on the aim of the seminars, shows the importance of SMEs in the European Union, gives a definition of SMEs, sheds light on the difficulties of SMEs in the context of social dialogue, deals with the EU legislation regarding SMEs, refers to the specific situation of SMEs in the Italian and Polish context, introduces the concept of social capital in regard to the topic of information and consultation and gives some conclusions and recommendations for workers’ organisations in regard to a further participation of employees in the context of SMEs.

The area, “Information and consultation in SMEs" will continue to be a significant element of our education and training programmes in the next few years. The theme is also of relevance in regard to the “Strategy Europe 2020” especially in regard to the topic of quality work and quality employment, which is directly linked to the 75% employment aim of the “Strategy Europe 2020”.

The pamphlet has been published in English, French, Italian and Polish and can be requested from EZA.