About the European Works Councils database

  1. General information

  2. Database structure

  3. Features

  4. Search criteria

  5. Sectors of activity and NACE codes used in the database

  6. Free graphs & statistics

  7. Access to the database

  8. Quoting the database and disclaimer

  9. Brief history of the database


General information

The EWC database is a specific service by the European Trade Union Institute (www.etui.org) provided since 1998.  It is the unique and most comprehensive source of information on EWCs and SE and SCE works councils and the content of their agreements.

The EWC database has a threefold aim:

(1) monitoring developments of the EWC and SE Works Council as well as SCE (Societas Cooperative Europaea, European Cooperative Society) population;

(2) analysing evolutions of EWCs, SE works councils and SCEs;

(3) providing information to practitioners, policy makers and researchers on EWCs.


The online portal of the database was made available to the public in 2006. It underwent a major update in 2015 when new functions were added (see History for details).

The database currently contains information on:

  • European Works Councils and SE (Societas Europaea) works councils as well as SCE (Societas Cooperative Europaea) works councils;
  • agreements (demographics + content analysis + full text search) setting up EWCs, SE works councils and SCE works councils;
  • multinational companies (MNCs; basic information) in which EWCs, SE works councils (European Companies) and SCE works councils were established;
  • selected provisions (examples of arrangements) from EWC, SE and SCE agreements;
  • additional agreements co-signed by EWCs (Transnational Company Agreements);
  • EU and national legislation regulating operation of EWCs (Legislation);
  • court cases (national level, European Court of Justice) relevant for EWCs and transnational workers' information and consultation;
  • selected related news linked to operation of EWCs.

In delivering this service the ETUI co-operates with the European Trade Union Federations (EU level trade union organisations at sectoral level) and with a network of external partners.

The database has been widely used as a reference source by assorted EU and national institutions as well as research and academic centres.

It also represents a useful tool for all practitioners dealing with EWCs and employee participation in their daily work (e.g. European Trade Union Federations, local level trade unions, shop stewards, employee representatives, EWC members, trainers).

The EWC dataservice is provided by the Research Department of the ETUI, specifically by its working unit 'Europeanisation of industrial relations' within the frames of a framework project within the ETUI's European Workers' Participation Competence Centre. The EWPCC provides also further information on workers' transnational information, consultation and participation:

The latest service relevant for EWC and SE works councils is the ETUI's NEW training portal at (www.ewctraining.eu) launched in December 2015 allowing access to training and relevang educational materials for worker representatives and EWC and SE works council members.


Database structure



The EWCdb is a relational database of EWC and SE WC agreements, EWCs, SE WCs and multinational companies managed by the ETUI (European Trade Union Institute). The relational dataset has three major content types:

1.       First of all, the database consists of EWC agreements. These are signed agreements between the management representatives and the employee representatives of a certain company for the establishment of transnational information and consultation bodies or procedures. These agreements (original agreements setting up EWCs/SE works councils and/or amendments or other related documents, such as e.g. court cases/judgements of the courts) are registered in the dataset including some demographical data (date of signature) and an analysis of the agreement content using a coding guide.

2.       The second content type is the EWC body. The EWC bodies are officially installed council for transnational information and consultation under the EU EWC regulation. To such bodies, a number of agreements are linked: an agreement officially installing the body and, if applicable, possible renegotiations or amendments to that original installation agreement as well as further documents such as news pieces, court judgements, etc. A single agreement can also be linked to two different bodies if, in a single global company, several EWCs are established.

3.       The third content type is the (multinational) company. This content type includes information on the company size, its ownership structure and its activities in various EU countries. Again, a single company can be linked to several EWC bodies if there is more than one council active in its subsidiaries.


To sum up, in the database there are: Companies (multinational companies, MNCs) having (one or more) European Works Councils, (based upon one or more) Agreements.

You can search for EWCs and/or their agreements by typing in any part of the company or EWC name into the main search form or by using advanced search filters to seek agreements.

Additionally EWCs and/or agreements are linked to

  • sectoral organisations (national trade unions or European Trade Union Federations) who co-ordinate support for and operation of EWCs and/or are involved in signing the agreements;
  • official bodies with which EWC agreements have been registered.
  • additional documents (judgements of the court, reports, articles, news items or press releases, etc.) that include references to the company, EWC or agreement.



Documents available for download

  • 3122 EWC, SE works councils and SCE agreements
  • 290 Additional documents
  • 271 Global agreements
  • 190 Substantive agreements (transnational company agreements)
  • 163 National case law documents
  • 142 National legal provisions
  • 105 EU legal provisions
  • 94 documents related to the revision (recast) of the EWC Directive
  • 74 European Court of Justice
  • 3 Sectoral social dialogue agreements
  • 2 EUSD framework

Search criteria

Searches can be performed by entering into the main search form

  • Any part of a company (multinational company in which an EWC, SE or SCE works council was established) name, EWC/SE/SCE works council name (the body) or agreement name.

More advanced search options are available to identify a set of EWCs and/or agreements by applying search criteria:

A) EWC/SE/SCE 'demographics'

  • Company characteristics (such as Headquarter country, subsidiaries in specific countries)

  • Legal characteristics of agreements

  • Installation and dissolution of EWCs (search by year in which the EWC was created or dissolved).

B) Agreements contents

C) Full text search within agreements stored in the database

 A global search on all documents available for download can be performed by the following criteria:

  • Any part of a title or description of the document
  • Any part of a company name the document is linked to
  • An organisation the document is linked to
  • A topic the document is linked to

This search returns a list of documents of all types (EWC agreements, national case law, additional documents...)


Data quality


If reference is made to data quality, one often thinks about the accuracy, the correctness of the data and thus whether or not the values in the dataset reflect the true values in the population. Accuracy is indeed a central issue of concern for data quality, the but the idea of data quality goes broader and includes other aspects such as the completeness, consistency and timeliness of the data (Batini & Scannapieco, 2006; Dasu & Johnson, 2003). These four dimensions are traditionally referred to as the central dimensions of data quality:

  • Accuracy refers to the closeness of the value in the dataset with the true value. Incorrect coding of the data is the main cause of a lack of accuracy.
  • Completeness is the degree in which the population is covered by dataset and whether important subgroups are not excluded from the dataset. Here, we consider both missing values on the unit levels (observations not included) as on the item level (missing information of a certain observation).
  • Timeliness is about the updated character of the data. Does the data reflect the current situation or are there several fields that require an update?
  • Consistency refers to the internal logical consistency in data points. If one variable indicates someone is of the male gender, in another variable (s)he cannot be categorized as female

These four dimensions of data quality are all of importance for the overall data quality. Nevertheless, some trade-offs between the dimensions can occur. Depending on the object of the study, the timeliness might be a more important factor than the completeness (or vice versa).

For the EWCdb, efforts regarding data quality optimization are performed on all four dimensions. We here distinguish between efforts focused on preventing error, assessing the error and fixing identified errors as show in below table:

Table 1. Data Quality









Tracking policy


Coding guide

Interpretation guide




Missing agreements analysis

 Late arrival analysis


Outlier analysis

Coder effect

Individual publications



Tracking effort



Individual publications



Data quality: agreement datasteps

In line with the ‘Total Survey Error’ approaches to survey quality error (Weisberg, 2009), we here map the different steps of the data collection, input and analyses and assess the various types of error that can occur.

The EWCdb is a database that aims to include and cover all existing EWCs, all their related agreements and companies established. The first step of the data process is therefore the agreement identification. Using various sources, the EWCdb gets the information on a certain EWC agreement. After the identification, access to the agreement is to be ensured using different channels. If not all the agreements and bodies are included in the database, a coverage error can occur. Once accessed, all agreements are being processed internally. If necessary, a translation of the agreement is foreseen and they are all put in a common lay-out. In these phases, processing error is a risk. In a third step, the content of the agreements are analyzed and coded in the dataset. This step requires a lot of human effort and can give way to measurement error as the codes in the dataset can divert from the true value. After the data-input, the dataset is subjected to an effort of data-cleaning and data-transformation to make the data ready for data analysis. In this phase, again, a form of processing error can be inflicted on the data-quality. In the last analysis step, it is important to choose the correct analysis techniques, if not an extra type of error, analysis error is caused.


In this guide the focus is on the first three types of error (coverage, processing and measurement error) as they are intrinsically linked to the database. The other types of error are more relevant for the analysis stage where the gathered and inputted data is used for further analysis. Choices on the data cleaning, transformation and data-analysis are to be discussed in the further individual publications.

Sectors of activity and NACE codes used in the database

The sector abbreviations used in this database have been created in view of classifying companies by the area of interest of the different European Trade Union Federations that co-ordinate EWC activities.

Each company is linked to at least one of the main sectors, whereas EWC bodies and agreements are linked to one or more subsectors as defined in the table below. Therefore the search function offers a larger set of sectors for EWC bodies and agreements.

Each sector corresponds to a number of NACE codes.


Sector abbreviations NACE codes distributed over the sector of activity groups
Metal 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35
Chemicals 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 37
Services 22, 50, 51, 52, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 92, 93
Food, hotel catering 1, 5, 15, 16, 55
Building and wood 2, 20, 36, 40, 41, 45
Textile 17, 18, 19
Transport 60, 61, 62
Public services 75, 80, 85
Other 91, 95, 99


NACE codes form a common basis for statistical classification of economic activities within the European Union. NACE stands for "Nomenclature générale des Activités économiques dans les Communautés européennes". More information can be found on the Eurostat page.


NACE Description
01 Crop and animal production, hunting and related service activities
02 Forestry and logging
03 Fishing and aquaculture
05 Mining of coal and lignite
06 Extraction of crude petroleum and natural gas
07 Mining of metal ores
08 Other mining and quarrying
10 Manufacture of food products
12 Manufacture of tobacco products
13 Manufacture of textiles
14 Manufacture of wearing apparel
15 Manufacture of leather and related products
16 Manufacture of wood and of products of wood and cork, except furniture; manufacture of articles of s
17 Manufacture of paper and paper products
18 Printing and reproduction of recorded media
19 Manufacture of coke and refined petroleum products
20 Manufacture of chemicals & chemical products
22 Manufacture of rubber and plastic products
23 Manufacture of other non-metallic mineral products
24 Manufacture of basic metals
25 Manufacture of fabricated metal products, except machinery and equipment
28 Manufacture of machinery & equipment n.e.c.
26 Manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products
27 Manufacture of electrical equipment
29 Manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers & semi-trailers
30 Manufacture of other transport equipment
31 Manufacture of furniture
38 Waste collection, treatment and disposal activities; materials recovery
35 Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply
36 Water collection, treatment and supply
41 Construction of buildings
45 Wholesale and retail trade and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles
46 Wholesale trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles
47 Retail trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles
55 Accommodation
49 Land transport and transport via pipelines
50 Water transport
51 Air transport
52 Warehousing and support activities for transportation
53 Postal and courier activities
64 Financial service activities, except insurance and pension funding
65 Insurance, reinsurance and pension funding, except compulsory social security
66 Activities auxiliary to financial services and insurance activities
68 Real estate activities
77 Rental and leasing activities
62 Computer programming, consultancy and related activities
72 Scientific research and development
74 Other professional, scientific and technical activities
84 Public administration and defence; compulsory social security
85 Education
86 Human health activities
37 Sewerage
94 Activities of membership organisations
93 Sports activities and amusement and recreation activities
96 Other personal service activities
97 Activities of households as employers of domestic personnel
99 Activities of extraterritorial organisations and bodies
09 Mining support service activities
11 Manufacture of beverages
21 Manufacture of basic pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations
32 Other manufacturing
33 Repair and installation of machinery and equipment
39 Remediation activities and other waste management services
42 Civil engineering
43 Specialised construction activities
56 Food and beverage service activities
58 Publishing activities
59 Motion picture, video and tv programme production, sound recording and music publishing activities
60 Programming and broadcasting activities
61 Telecommunications
63 Information service activities
69 Legal and accounting activities
70 Activities of head offices; management consultancy activities
71 Architectural and engineering activities; technical testing and analysis
73 Advertising and market research
75 Veterinary activities
78 Employment activities
79 Travel agency, tour operator and other reservation service and related activities
80 Security and investigation activities
81 Services to buildings and landscape activities
82 Office administrative, office support and other business support activities
87 Residential care activities
88 Social work activities without accommodation
90 Creative, arts and entertainment activities
91 Libraries, archives, museums and other cultural activities
92 Gambling and betting activities
95 Repair of computers and personal and household goods
98 Undifferentiated goods- and services-producing activities of private households for own use



NACE Description
Building & Woodwork Building & Woodwork
Chemicals Chemicals Cement
Chemicals Chemicals Ceramics
Chemicals Chemicals and Plastics
Chemicals Chemicals Paper and Pulp
Chemicals Chemicals Energy
Chemicals Chemicals Mining
Chemicals Chemicals Oil
Chemicals Chemicals Glass
Chemicals Chemicals Pharmaceuticals
Chemicals Chemicals, not specified
Chemicals Chemicals Rubber
Food, Agriculture, Tourism Food, Non alcoholic drinks
Food, Agriculture, Tourism Food, other
Food, Agriculture, Tourism Food, Vegetable processing
Food, Agriculture, Tourism Food, Frozen
Food, Agriculture, Tourism Food, Confectionary
Food, Agriculture, Tourism Food, Meat processing
Food, Agriculture, Tourism Food, Dairy industry
Food, Agriculture, Tourism Food, Breweries
Food, Agriculture, Tourism Food, Spirits
Food, Agriculture, Tourism Food, Agriculture, Horeca, not specified
Food, Agriculture, Tourism Food, Fish processing
Food, Agriculture, Tourism Food, Contract catering
Food, Agriculture, Tourism Food, Tobacco processing
Food, Agriculture, Tourism Multi-food
Food, Agriculture, Tourism Food, Sugar
Food, Agriculture, Tourism Agriculture (seeds production)
Food, Agriculture, Tourism Food, Tourism, Contract cleaning
Food, Agriculture, Tourism Food, Restaurants, cafés, bars
Food, Agriculture, Tourism Tourism, Hotels
Metal Electrical equipment
Metal Household Appliances
Metal not specified
Metal Metal Products
Metal Defence
Metal Medical equipment
Metal Lifts
Metal Basic metals
Metal Aerospace
Metal Automotive
Metal ICT
Metal Mechanical engineering
Metal Non-ferrous metals
Metal Shipbuilding
Metal Steel
Metal White goods
Other Other or not specified
Public Services Public Services
Services Services, Temporary Agencies
Services Property Services, Security
Services Services Finance, Banking
Services Services Graphical, Publishing
Services Services Finance, Insurance
Services Services Graphical, Packaging
Services Services Graphical, Printing
Services Services, Telecommunication
Services Services, Information technology
Services Postal services and logistics
Services Property Services, Cleaning
Services Services, Media and entertainment
Services Services, Commerce
Services Services, Tourism
Services Services, Call Centres
Services Services, not specified
Textile Textile
Transport Transport, not specified
Transport Tpt Ports
Transport Tpt Logistics
Transport Tpt Urban Transport
Transport Tpt Aviation & Airport Services
Transport Tpt Global delivery


Free graphs, statistics

A number of free statistics and graphs are available from the Statistics and graphs page, and a selected set are available for paid subscribers from the same page


Access to the database

There are three options for obtaining access to the database now:

  • FREE access for NON-REGISTERED users:
    • free consultation of brief data on companies, EWC agreements or other documents.
    • free viewing of the first page of the agreements.
  • FREE Access for REGISTERED users:
    • free consultation of brief data on companies, agreements and other documents
    • free download of EWC/SE/SCE agreements.
    • access to agreements content analysis (full text search, selected provisions)
    • personal user dashboard allowing to save search results and queries, earmark agreements, and more;
    • compare the contents of agreements.
    • get assistance with specific statistical requests (exclusively for paid subscribers)

For further information on access please refer to the subscriptions section.


Quoting the database & disclaimer

The ETUI provides free access to data stored in the database on a free basis upon registrations. We encourage and support the use of the data provided by the ETUI in various forms. However:

  • the ETUI is not responsible for the way third parties make use of the data in question;
  • opinions and information provided by third parties using the ETUI data in question cannot be associated with the ETUI as data provider. Any such statements of third parties do not reflect the views of the ETUI.
  • in providing free access to the ETUI data by third parties we require that in any such use the EWC database of the ETUI be properly quoted according to commonly accepted academic and/or jounralistic standards allowing to easily and unmistakenably identify the ETUI as the source of the data. An example of a reference: The European Works Councils and SE works councils database (year), at www.ewcdb.eu, the European Trade Union Institute.


Brief history

In collaboration with some twenty-one research institutes and the European Industry Federations, the ETUI initially created a database that identifies multinational companies that fall within the scope of the EWC Directive. This database was put together for the first time in 1995.

In 1999, the ETUI created another database containing English texts of agreements setting up EWCs.

In 2004 the collection of agreements and the data on multinationals were integrated into a single database and supplemented with a selection of data analysing the contents of the agreements, provided by SDA-Infopoint. The latest published update was issued in 2006 on CD Rom.

In 2005 a selection of the data was put online which enabled EWC members to inform us about changes in the composition of their EWC or to send us copies of renegotiated agreements.

In 2007 the database was made accessible online via www.ewcdb.eu and complemented with new features.

In 2008 a decision was taken to integrate content analysis of EWC agreements hitherto performed by the Social Development Agency into the ETUI database of EWCs. Since then both organisations have been cooperating on this common project.

In 2010 new features were added

  • a full text search in the news section allowing for access to information on EWC practice; (please include a hyperlink to the news section);
  • search by thesaurus items linked to agreements, documents and news items (please include a hyperlink to the thesaurus search in news section);
  • exceptional provisions in EWC agreements features list of agreements standing out either in a positive or negative way from the common standards, searchable according to more than 100 criteria (access for recommended trade union members only).
  • content analysis of EWC agreements: following a long period of cooperation between the two separate databases of ETUI and the Social Development Agency (SDA) in 2008 a decision was taken to integrate them into one. This strategic move to merge the entire range of services offered hitherto by ETUI with the content analysis of agreements performed by the SDA has been executed since then. The analysis covers over 100 questions (criteria) to each agreement and has been performed by R. Jagodzinski (ETUI) and Stan De Spiegelaere (ETUI, since 2015), with a help of external researchers M. Monaco (SDA, mmonaco@etuc.org, 2010) and Arnaud Bouaffre (2014) in cooperation with prof. Jeremy Waddington (University of Manchester / ETUI Associate Researcher).

In 2014-15 the portal underwent a major redevelopment was completed that was oriented towards

  • improving the user interface
  • expanding search possbilities and offering access to new content
  • providing individual workspace (dashboard) for users
  • providing free access (upon registration) to all users.

Thanks to the strong cooperation with the European Trade Union Federations (ETUFs) and thanks to various networks of researchers we have been able to complete the collection of texts and update, in a reliable way, records for a number of EWCs/SEs/SCE works councils and companies. The team working on the EWC project has put a great deal of effort into ensuring quality and accuracy of the EWC database. Nonetheless, as with any database that is covering an evolving subject, the available information will at times be incomplete or outdated. We rely also on our users to inform us about inconsistencies or missing data (please contact us in this regard).

The ETUI will ensure that updated data will occur on the website in the shortest possible time from the moment information becomes available.

We hope you will find the data and texts you require in this database and will be glad to receive any comments, suggestions and corrections regarding both the content and the interface of the database to Irmgard Pas (ipas@etui.org) and Stan De Spiegelaere (sdespiegelaere@etui.org) and/or the website to Romuald Jagodziński (rjagodzinski@etui.org).

For any further information or comments regarding the contents you can also use the general e-mail: ewcdb@etuc.org.



Stan De Spiegelaere Irmgard Pas Romuald Jagodziński
Researcher, ETUI.
Research department
Database administrator , ETUI.
Research department
Senior Researcher, ETUI.
Research department




The ETUI. is financially supported by the European Union