Information and consultation with employee representatives

Safeguarding of employee participation rights ensures compliance with legislation and collective agreements. Information and consultation with employee representatives is often a crucial factor for the restructuring and downsizing processes to succeed.

The employee participation rights are developed on different grounds. Employee representation rights to increase corporate democracy, is a tool to enhance productivity and added value. Employee involvement helps to ensure understanding and legitimize the employer’s decisions, prevent conflicts and ensure achievement of objectives.

There is broad support for employee participation rights. Often seen as a part of the foundation for the Norwegian (or Nordic) welfare state model, the principle of employee participation rights is established in article 110 in the Norwegian Constitution. The detailed content of the principle is assumed regulated in Norwegian legislation, regulations and collective agreements.

Representation of workers directly in the decision-making bodies – in the board and potentially in the corporate assembly – constitutes a centerpiece of corporate democracy in Norway. In addition, both the Working Environment Act and collective agreements set down requirements for information and consultation with employee representatives. Such information and consultation shall be organized in works councils, joint works and work environment councils, departmental councils, committees for groups of companies, European Works Councils or other agreed formalized cooperation. The obligation to inform representatives also applies when there is no organization representatives. The requirements concerning information and consultation apply generally in regard to decisions that are important for the employees’ working conditions, and especially in regard to redundancies and transfers of undertakings.

Experience shows that it is essential that cooperation between company representatives and the employee representatives takes place in an efficient and reliable manner, and that the employee representatives are equipped and able to fulfill their tasks under Norwegian law and collective agreements. A mutually correct and trusting behavior between the company representatives and the employee representatives is an essential prerequisite for cooperation between the parties to succeed. We have extensive experience in assisting to secure compliance in your company. Several of our lawyers also have work experience from various employer and employee organizations.