Information and consultation
of the works’ council

The employer is obliged, in accordance with a set of regulations, to inform and consult the works’ council
concerning important reorganization measures.

Also as a result of the amendments, introduced in 1998 and generally known as “the Law Renault”, the most striking reorganization measures are the ones which result in a number of lay-offs, particularly if these constitute a collective lay-off or the closing of an enterprise.

In that case, the works’ council is to be informed and consulted.

“Consultation” is defined as an exchange and discussion of ideas and proposals in view of mitigating the negative consequences of the measures for the employees, or, to put it otherwise, a negotiation concerning the contents of the measures and the terms of implementation of the measures, say, the terms of termination of the employment contracts.


This process of information and consultation must be initiated by the employer, when he has the intention to take such measures, that is, in principle and formally, prior to having made the decision. Beyond any doubt, this is a rather theoretical approach in practice. Nevertheless whatever, the result thereof is that the communication can not relate to established facts and/or certainties and is made in “conditional” terms.

Furthermore, the works’ council is the first one to be informed and consulted, that is before third parties, internally the employees, as well as externally the media, clients, suppliers, banks, etc. are notified. That is why a perfect coordination of both flows of communication is an absolute “must”.

24 June 2013

Marcel Houben - marcel.houben@peeters-law.be

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