The Social Dimension of 1992: Europe Faces a New Ec

By Beverly Springer | Go to book overview

is more likely. The Commission has been ingenious in devising a form which provides for majority voting. The Commission has also been flexible in the search for an acceptable form for worker participation. The present proposal appears to offer enough benefits to business to make the participation requirement acceptable. If it is accepted, it will mark the first important victory for proponents of worker participation in the EC in two decades of effort and a significant advance in development of industrial democracy in the EC.


CONCLUSION

The EC has taken a significant step toward the incorporation of industrial democracy into EC law. After an early flurry of interest, the topic had been dormant in the EC for more than a decade until revived in the 1980s under the impetus of the 1992 initiative. Industrial democracy, in the sense of basic social rights, was accepted by the EC in 1989. Industrial democracy, in the sense of worker participation, will most likely be accepted in the early 1990s.

The work of the EC in the area of industrial democracy builds on a broad base of acceptance and practice in the member states. The task was not easy, however. Important groups oppose incorporation of industrial democracy into EC law. In addition, diversity among the proponents of industrial democracy prevented a single form of worker participation from becoming the EC model.

Progress in achieving an EC policy on industrial democracy probably owes a great deal to the persistence of obscure Eurocrats in the Commission who kept the work alive through more than two decades and continued to search for acceptable forms. The Eurocrats were, no doubt, encouraged in their persistence by the European Trade Union Confederation. The Parliament also played an important role both in its formal capacity and its informal capacity as the champion of a people's Europe. The Economic and Social Committee, although a minor player, contributed especially to the Social Charter.

The politics of the Council regarding industrial democracy is fascinating. Governments try to manipulate the agenda of the Council so that popular measures are scheduled for a vote when they hold the presidency of the Council. (It rotates every six months.) The Socialist Spanish government tried to obtain acceptance of the Social Charter during its tenure. Prime Minister Gonzalez reportedly talked to Prime Minister Thatcher in an effort to win her support. He was not successful, and the

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