Adaptation of Swiss law
Employees Switzerland claims for adaptation of Swiss law to those Directives
In companies affected by the Directives, Swiss representatives often represent Swiss workers interests at European works council level. Since Swiss law does not take international consultation procedure into account, representatives are in a blurry legal situation because their rights and obligations are nowhere specified, neither in European law nor in Swiss law. In rare cases, internal company rules give Swiss representatives a formal role but, since Switzerland is no EU member, equal right for Swiss representatives is even more rarely explicitly provided.
In 2008, Employees Switzerland has taken steps toward the SECO (Swiss government's centre of expertise for all core issues relating to economic policy) concerning this subject, with no result as of today. Lately, the Swiss press has reported on the subject in relation with the announced mass dismissal at Alstom Switzerland.
Recently, a study of University of Zurich has confirmed the relvancy of EBR for Swiss workers.
In summary, it can be underlined that consultation proceedings that are simultaneously submitted to European and Swiss law are confronted with an unsolvable contradiction. In such case, autonomous implementation of Swiss law is impossible. National consultation proceedings are indeed, according to European law, submitted to a prior proceeding at European works council level.
However, according to Swiss law, workers of a company have a claim for information and consultation that cannot be implemented in companies concerned by those Directives because the employer submitted to EU law has to oppose to it as long as the European proceeding is not terminated.
It is therefore obvious for Employees Switzerland that Swiss law has to be adapted, urgently. This adaptation can be implemented in several ways from collective work contract adaptation to legal changes and even, what seems the most efficient, by integration of those Directives in the bilateral agreement between EU and Switzerland on free circulation of persons. As already stressed, the solution of necessary improvements depends on social partners, particularly on the employer’s side.