Where the University of Twente is concerned, 'Works Council' ('OR') can be understood to mean the University Council (UR).
This document describes the rights and powers of the Works Council (OR) regarding health, safety, well-being and environmental matters. When pursuing the working conditions policy, the employer and employees have to work together. In addition, the employer has to regularly consult with the OR about matters concerning this policy and its implementation. These consultations should be characterized by an active exchange of information. Pursuant to the Dutch Works Councils Act, the OR can put any company matter up for discussion, therefore, this also pertains to working condition matters. It is for this reason that these rights are not specified any further in the Working Conditions Act.
The powers of the OR as laid down in the Dutch Works Councils Act include the following:
- The employer needs to obtain the OR's approval if he/she wishes to repeal, change or adopt a regulation regarding health, safety or well-being in the workplace.
- The employer has to discuss his/her working conditions policy with the OR.
- The OR has the right to be informed by the employer, the Health and Safety service (Arbodienst) experts and the Labour Inspectorate official.
Section 12 of the Working Conditions Act stipulates some additional powers granted to the OR.
- Members of the OR need to be able to talk with the Labour Inspectorate official outside the presence of others.
- Members of the OR need to be given the possibility to accompany the Labour Inspectorate official during his/her visit to the company, if he/she allows for this.
In the Netherlands, the Works Council has four types of rights:
A. The right to be informed (Section 31 of the Works Councils Act)
In the context of this text, this means that the employer has to actively exchange information about the working conditions policy he/she pursues or wants to pursue with the OR. This also includes the annual health, safety and environment report.
B. The right of consultation and the right of initiative (Section 23 of the Works Councils Act)
Pursuant to the Works Councils Act, the employer has to consult with the OR about matters concerning the working conditions policy and about its implementation.
C. The right to be consulted (Section 25 of the Works Councils Act)
Taking important measures concerning the company's taking care of the environment, including making or changing policy-related, organizational and administrative arrangements concerning the environment;
D. The right of approval (Section 27 of the Works Councils Act)
Regulation on health, safety or well-being in the context of work or sickness absence. This also includes the annual health, safety and environment report.
Summary of OR rights
- The OR has the right of initiative, the right of approval and the right to be consulted regarding all of the employer's intended decisions to repeal, change or adopt a regulation in the field of health, working conditions and/or sickness absence (Works Councils Act, Section 23(2)(3), Section 27(1)(d) and Section 28(1)).
- The employer discusses the working conditions policy and implementation of this policy with the OR (Works Councils Act, Section 27 and Working Conditions Act, Section 12(2)).
- The OR has the right to conclude a works agreement with the employer regarding the organization of the expert assistance (Working Conditions Act, Section 14(9)(b)).
- The OR has the right to be consulted prior to economic and/or organizational company decisions, such as large investments and changes to the production process (Works Councils Act, Section 25 and 35(c)). This right allows the OR to point out possible workplace-related consequences of intended decisions early on.