In parts of Europe, and for large firms across Europe, laws require the establishment of “works councils” that give employees some say on defined workplace matters.
It’s a good idea and Australian unions were rather short-sighted when they ran cold on it some decades ago. But as worker power has declined in Europe, so too has the incidence of works councils.
Workers need ways to increase the reality of power at the workplace, not just the formal appearance of it.
In the end, that means increasing the influence of worker organisations, which in Australia has mostly been unions. David Peetz discusses what could be done