EU: European Parliament votes to strengthen role of European Works Councils European legislation Effective and practical social dialog. Amendment No. 5 of May 2008 (see our dispatch No. 080713) included the commitment to negotiate, as soon as the second 2008 quarter, the practical modalities for the exchange of information and consultation of participants in the Saint-Gobain Convention for European Social Dialog, the European staff representation structure. Talks led to an agreement on May 12, 2009, which was officially signed yesterday. “We’re very pleased with the finality of this amendment which is a strong sign that we want constructive social dialog at European level” said Thierry Logeon, secretary of the Convention and signatory of the amendment. Equal level of satisfaction at the EMCEF (European Mine, Chemical and Energy Workers’ Federation). Sylvain Lefebvre, representative to the negotiations, said that “negotiators drew from the observation that social dialog needed to be improved, and that’s what the amendment does.” Indeed, it is the purpose of this agreement, clearly stated in the preamble, to “improve the effectiveness of practical, constructive and trust-based social dialog.” Better social dialog implies that “information and consultation on transnational issues should allow staff representatives, in due time, to give the General Management or the appropriate level of management, depending on the situation, an opinion which may be useful for the decision-making process.” However, this “process should respect the prerogatives of the decision made by the General Management, the appropriate management level or the management of the businesses concerned, accordingly, regarding the evolution or adjustment of the group.” In the same vein, it is reminded several times that the role and attributions of the European structure are limited to the effects, assessed in their transnational dimension, of the issue at stake or decision made.