The European Works Councils Specialists
Setting up a European Works Council (EWC) for the first time can be a daunting prospect. It is something that most companies only do once a year and it is therefore important to make sure that the meetings are a success.
With this in mind, Eurosis, European Works Council specialist, has put together this informative brochure to help you avoid the pitfalls that are all too common when organising a European Forum.
Eurosis has been a leading provider of simultaneous interpretation (SI) services for over 20 years. We are the first SI Company in the UK to achieve ISO 9002 Quality Accreditation from the British Standards Institute. We are committed to providing a high quality, professional service first time, on time and every time
Dedicated Account Managers
Over 20 Years Experience
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Your questions answered.
- What is a European Works Council?
The primary aim of a European Works Council is to “inform and consult”. It is an opportunity for employees to ask senior management questions concerning the company and for management to relay information to employees via the EWC representatives. It is a consultative body and not, as some people believe, a negotiating tool. The employees elect EWC representatives locally and any employee, regardless of their language skills, can be selected as an EWC representative.
- What experience do Eurosis have of European works Councils?
Simultaneous interpretation is the key to ensuring that all participants derive the maximum benefit from the meeting. Without SI, the forum will not achieve what is meant to do, “inform and consult”, and the end result will not reflect the amount of time and money, which has been invested in organising it.
Eurosis has worked all over Europe with a large number of multinational companies to help make their European Works Council meeting a success. Here is just a selection:
AVIS – Amsterdam
ALLIED DOMECQ – Frankfurt
ALSTOM – Gdansk (Poland)
AMERICAN EXPRESS – Madrid
BAA – London Gatwick
BARCLAYS – London
BOC – London Heathrow
BPB – Hannover
COMPASS – Copenhagen
DE LA RUE – Paris
DIAGEO – Edinburgh
DIAMANT BOART – Brussels
EDS – Milan
EMAP – Paris
EUROTUNNEL – London
GENERAL MOTORS – Zurich
GOODRICH – Birmingham
HASBRO – Geneva
HEWLETT PACKARD – Barcelona
INGERSOLL-RAND – Dublin
KELLOGGS – Manchester
NEWELL-RUBBERMAID – Brussels
RMC – Egham
TATE & LYLE – Lisbon
TORAY TEXTILE – Prague
TOSHIBA – Brighton
UNIGATE – London
UNITED BISCUITS – Barcelona
XEROX – Paris
- Can you give me an example of Eurosis work with the EWC?
Location: Paris, France
Date : December 2012
Service: Simultaneous Interpretation services from Eurosis
Scale: 50 delegates and 12 languages
Customer: Alstom European Works Council Plenary and Training
Alstom European Works Council (EWC) required Simultaneous Interpretation in order to get the maximum result, participation and contribution from all the delegates across the EWC committee. Alstom was interested in overcoming the language barrier in a quick, accurate and efficient way.
Alstom does not have any in-house interpreters or the necessary equipment to deliver efficient means of communication to enable the delegates to understand and be understood. The accuracy of interpretation is essential to Alstom and they needed a company that would be able to provide not only a good service and a team of experienced interpreters led by a co-coordinator to serve as point of contact, but also guarantee consistency throughout the meetings planned for each year, confidentiality and a team of interpreters that is able to familiarize, pursue and reflect the dynamic affairs that take place within Alstom.
Eurosis provided a handpicked team of 24 interpreters with their allocated coordinator for the 12 languages required and all the necessary equipment to ensure a smooth communication for a period of 4 days, covering logistics and preparations. This allowed Alstom delegation to discuss internal matters efficiently and worry free. A friendly team means that interpreters are familiar with their respective delegates and are able to assist them not only in the meeting, but also during short informal meetings over coffee breaks if necessary. Documentation for the meeting was distributed by the coordinator to help the interpreters at all times, so that they can deliver an even better interpretation and keep the client disengaged from the interpreters to be able take care of their own work onsite. Whenever minutes are not taken, Eurosis is able to record the meeting and pass the data in a secure format to be processed by Alstom internally when needed.
The Simultaneous Interpretation system, technical support onsite and the team of interpreters definitely did not disappoint and the meeting was a success, benefiting from the service provided. Not only was the organisation able to conclude their discussion efficiently, they were also able to rely on the same team of interpreters for future meetings to maintain a friendly and efficient atmosphere amongst the delegates and their interpreters, who by now are knowledgeable and educated regarding Alstom terminology and literature. With such background knowledge Alstom is able to rely on an enhanced accuracy of interpretation, reducing misconstruing between the delegates to zero.
Alstom confirmed the use of the Simultaneous Interpretation System and the interpretation team on future events and Eurosis has continued to work on similar projects with Alstom.
- Why have an EWC?
Apart from the legislative aspect, a recent study into companies holding European Works Council concluded that almost all of them believe it has added value to their organisations by improving internal co-operation and the quality of managerial decision-making, as well as being instrumental in developing EU wide policy cohesion. The research, commissioned by the Dutch CBI, maintains that EWC’s are seen as an extremely valuable communication tool, offering “exciting opportunities” for “international cross-pollination”.
- How do I ensure that all the delegates can understand each other?
The Directive indicates that all delegates should have access to language facilities throughout the duration of the meeting. It is therefore imperative that simultaneous interpretation is provided to ensure all delegates can participate fully in the meeting. SI allows participants to listen to and speak in their own language by way of interpreters.
- Do I need any equipment for Simultaneous Interpretation?
Yes – Eurosis will provide both the interpreters and equipment, offering a comprehensive service to project manage the delivery to site and installation. Installing the equipment is straightforward for our experienced technicians, with soundproof booths for the team of interpreters and microphones and headsets for all participants.
- What other equipment may be needed?
For the presentation of information, some further equipment may be needed such as screens, data projector, laptop computer and video recorder. Eurosis can supply all of these items if required.
- How do I know what size room to book?
You need to ensure that there is ample space for the number of delegates to be seated, as well as space for the simultaneous interpretation equipment. For example, one booth occupies almost 2m x 2m, so if five languages were needed, a space 10m x 2m would be required just for the booths, and ideally a 2m gap needs to be left between the booth and the nearest delegate. Most EWC meetings are held around a U-shaped table, although there are no hard and fast rules for this. If feasible, Eurosis will conduct a site visit to the proposed venue to ensure that the room is suitable for the comfort and safety of all participants. Alternatively, a floor plan with all pertinent dimensions would be requested from the hotel and a room layout would be prepared by one of our qualified technicians.
- What do I need to look for in a venue when planning an EWC meeting?
The location of the venue is very important, as logistics play a large part in ensuring a successful event. Venues near an airport are a good choice as delegates can fly in during the morning for a lunchtime start, thus saving on accommodation costs. A hotel in the centre of a major city would also be suitable, as evening entertainment would allow delegates to socialise and network. Further points worth considering when choosing a venue would be the relaxation and leisure facilities, whether the room has air-conditioning (a must if the meeting is being held during the summer months), or whether to hire a syndicate room, so that management may discuss issues, in private, that have come up at the meeting. It is also worth booking another small room to be used as a conference office, with photocopier and computer installed to provide office and communications facilities.
- When is the most suitable time to hold a meeting?
The timing of the meeting should be considered carefully. Take note of local national holidays as this could have an impact on logistics. As the conference business is seasonal, hotel discounts could be available if holding the EWC off-season in January or August.
- How much time is allowed for installation?
This depends on the start time of the meeting. If the meeting is to begin at 0900, we usually prefer to install the night before in order to have enough time to set-up and test the equipment fully. If the EWC begins at lunchtime, installing in the morning gives us plenty of time. Installation takes about 2-3, but can vary depending on the size of the meeting and venue access.
- Do interpreters accompany delegates on the social occasions?
If you require interpretation during dinner or some other social event, we can provide this service, however we would need to know this in advance to ensure that the interpreters were available.
- Am I responsible for the interpreters?
This depends on the number of interpreters required. For teams of eight or more, Eurosis provides an Interpreter Co-ordinator to act as a contact point between interpreters and the client to handle any queries.
- Will the interpreters translate documents before and after the meeting?
Oral interpretation and written translation are different. If you require the written translation of material generated before, during or after the meeting, this can be arranged with prior notice.
- What do I have to provide for the interpreters?
It is extremely helpful to the interpreters if we can provide the following information before the meeting begins: delegate list, agenda, and any presentations or slides that are going to be used during the meeting. This is especially useful when specific company terminology is used. Some companies produce an internal glossary and a copy of this is extremely helpful.
- What interpreter expenses are likely to arise?
This all depends on where the meeting is being held and what time it will start. In the most expensive cases, accommodation, travel and subsistence would be required for all of the interpreters. However, we do try to book interpreters as close to the venue as possible, providing they have suitable experience in EWC meetings. This eliminates some of the expenses, although for us to engage local interpreters, early confirmation is necessary.
- How soon do I have to confirm the meeting in advance?
The earlier the better! This ensures that we have the largest pool of interpreters to choose from. This is especially pertinent if the meeting is being held overseas, where interpreters with certain languages combinations are more limited. It also means that any potential site visits and client meetings can be carried out beforehand to ensure the meeting is a success.
- The EWC meeting is highly sensitive. Can you guarantee confidentiality?
Yes – All of our staff and interpreters are experienced in meetings of this kind and understand the need for discretion. Our interpreters are asked to sign confidentiality agreements each time they work on a Eurosis meeting, and are asked to hand back all materials provided to ensure complete control of confidential papers.
- We need an accurate record of the meeting. How do I achieve this?
An accurate record of the meeting ensures that everyone knows what was said and agreed upon. It can also help when arranging the agenda items for the next meeting. Eurosis can record the meeting in any of the languages used during the EWC onto cassette tape. This gives an accurate rendition of what was said. However, using a skilled transcription service alongside would provide a more thorough record. Transcription will provide a log of who spoke at the meeting, as well as notes of relevant slides and terminology.
- We plan to hold a meeting somewhere in Europe. Can you support us?
Yes – Eurosis works all over Europe. Some companies hold their EWC meetings in a different European city each time, and we travel with the equipment to the proposed venue. We also have a large pool of interpreters available in many of the key European cities.
- Can you help with any other relevant services?
Eurosis specialises in simultaneous interpretation. However, we regularly work with well-known companies who provide electoral procedures, consultation, logistics, and transcription. For further information, please contact us.
- I still have some questions for you.
Every European Works Council meeting is different and each company has specific requirements. Whilst we have tried to answer the most frequently asked questions regarding EWC’s you probably have specific questions regarding your meeting. If this is the case, then please contact us to discuss your company needs in greater detail.
Please contact us for more information or a detailed proposal:
Address: Eurosis Ltd, 35 Rothschild Street, London, SE27 0JN
Phone: +44 (0) 208 670 9351
0800 616 865 (freephone – UK only)
Fax: +44 (0) 208 761 7954