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Detailed project description

Detailed description of the project submitted by the Estonian Employers’ Confederation called “Participation in Enterprise”

Introduction and background

The project initiated by the Estonian Employers Confederation (ETTK) and the Confederation of Estonian Trade Unions (EAKL) is submitted under the Budget Heading “Information, Consultation and Participation of Representatives of  Undertakings.” The project is the first joint project initiated solely by the social partners and hopefully will considerably improve the cooperation between social partners as during the project as well in the future. The other partners are PRAXIS Center for Policy Studies and Estonian Association for Personnel Development (PARE).

The main responsibility of the PRAXIS is carrying out the research during the project. The main responsibility of the PARE is organizing the conference on November 3, 2005.

The information and consultation project is a 12-month long project. It will start in December 2004 and terminate by the end of November in 2005. The project includes an in depth research, a campaign, a conference, training sessions and a publication. The more detailed overview of the timetable and involvement of partners is described in a separate document (see Detailed Timetable).

Recently important directives have been adopted, which regulate information and consultation of employees in multinational and European companies, as well in the European Community generally (94/45/EC, 97/74/EC, 94/45/EC, 2001/86/EC, 2003/72/EC, 2002/14/EC).

Estonia should harmonize its legislation concerning involvement of employees to March 2005. The drafts of the Involvement of Employees at Transnational Level Act and the Involvement of Employees at National Level Act are being prepared by the Estonian government, but there are still lot of questions under the discussion. The theme is quite new and could meet some misunderstandings and resistance from both side – employers and employees. We assume that different forms and methods of information and consultation are not commonly known and social partners may have bias for involvement of employees.

1. Project aims

The project main objective is to promote social dialogue at enterprise level by exchanging experiences and best practices on different forms and methods of involvement of employees. As well the objective of the project is to raise the awareness of employers and employees representatives about European directives and Estonian regulations concerning the information and consultation of employees and involvement of employees.

To achieve the objectives of the project the research and information campaign will be carried out, as well the conference and companies internal trainings will take place and the report of research will be published.

2. Project description: preparatory phase, main event, follow-up

2.1 Preparatory phase

The project will start with the meeting of all partners. In this meeting the monitoring committee will be formed, exact timesheet, actions, supervisors and information exchange will be confirmed. As well the questions of the budget and accounting will be decided.

2.1.1 The research “Partnership in Enterprise: The content and methods of consultation and information processes and satisfaction with different forms of information and consultation in large enterprises in Estonia”, as the preparatory phase of the project will involve both large companies as well as international enterprises that have their subsidiary in Estonia. The aim of the research is to analyse the content and methods of information and consultation of employees and satisfaction with different models of information and consultation in the cases of different forms of employees’ representation.

As the information and consultation in enterprises has not been studied in Estonia, the first aim of the study is to analyse the process in general. In Estonia there might be two different employees’ representatives in a company (additionally to working environment’s representative): union’s representative and trustees – representative of workers’ without a union. Also the aim is to look at the different cases of representation and to see whether there are differences in consultation and information practices. Based on the results good and bad practices will be brought out. The study will form bases, which helps to educate employers’ and employees’ on the information and consultation arrangements in their company.

2.1.2 Method and data
The processes and satisfaction with the consultation and information of employees will be studied via case studies. Case studies will be carried out at least in 15 companies. The companies will be selected by consensus of analysts, trade unions and employers representatives. The first election listed in the application form was made in cooperation with branch associations and include 24 companies in case some of them are not interested in taking part of research. The target group of the study is the companies, which have over 100 employees and different employees representation forms.

Each case study includes:
1. structured interviews with a person in management, who is familiar with consultation process;
2. structured interview with employees’ representative;
3. employees’ survey with self fulfilled questionnaire, based on random sample in each company. The survey includes 10-20% of the workers in the company. 

The case studies enable to get insight into the processes of information and consultation and to find good and bad practices, however, it does not give the understanding on the general prevalence of information and consultation practices in Estonian companies. To find this out a short survey with representative sample among companies, which have over 100 employees in Estonia, will be carried out. The survey will address the questions, whether there is a general practice of information and consultation, and how is it arranged.

The other part of survey contains the questions about the Estonian Employers’ Confederation and the Confederation of Estonian Trade Unions – about their imago, how “visible” they are for employers and employees etc. As well the communication process between confederations and their members will be studied to get know how well the employers and employees are informed about work- and social issues at nation and EU level.

2.1.3 Results
As the result of research the report will be published and the training materials for internal training of companies will be prepared.

The report will include following subsections:
1. Legal background for information and consultation of employees in Estonia and in the EU
2. The practices of information and consultation in the other EU countries
3. Information and consultation practices in Estonia, based on the case studies
4. Information and consultation and satisfaction of workers in Estonia

The training materials for companies include the more specific results of research, suggestions and examples of different communication systems and methods. 

The approach of the research is one of a kind and therefore innovative, because the correlation between employee satisfaction with the information and consultation system and the forms of representation has not been measured nor evaluated before in Estonia. In order to be able to draw reliable conclusions, the results will be analysed having the economic results of each company in the background.

The social partners – Estonian Employers’ Confederation and the Confederation of Estonian Trade Unions will receive valuable feedback of the work and role of the social partners, about the level of EU awareness and which expectations are set for the social partners.

2.2 Main events

2.2.1 Campaign

The main objective of the campaign is to promote good practices and different methods of information and consultation in enterprises. The aim is to diminish the employers’ bias for involvement of employees and raise the awareness of employees about their rights and obligations in information and consultation process. Base on the result of research we hope to show that in prosperous enterprises the communication process is the important part of leadership and motivation system.

The second objective is to improve the awareness and knowledge about EU directives and Estonian laws concerning involvement employees. 

The third objective is to make Estonian Employers Confederation (ETTK) and the Confederation of Estonian Trade Unions (EAKL) as the social partners organisations more visible in public.

The target groups of the campaing are employers and employees and their representatives.

Activities.
The main activities during the campaign are: introduction the results of the research; promoting the best practices of involvement of employees by success-stories; introduction the regulations concerning the information and consultation of employees; advertising the conference and companies internal training cources. 

Methods and chanells.
Press release: during the all project the media will be informed about the process of the project.
The series of articles written by opinion leaders will be published during the campaign.
The information and consultation issues will be discussed in relative TV and radio broadcasts.
The results of the research and the published report will be introduced in the press-conference.
The project partners will introduce the results of the research to the different target groups (politicians, branch organisations of employers and employees etc) in roundtable meetings.
The advertisements of the conference will be published in public newspapers and invitations will be sent through the networks of social partners’ organisations to all potential participants.
All information concering the project and campaign will be available at the social partners’ homepages.

2.2.2 Conference

The very important event of the project is the conference “Partnership in Enterprise – dream or reality?” The objective of the conference is to introduce the results of the research and different methods and systems of information and consultations, as well to raise the awareness about relevant regulations.

The main target group of the conference is representatives of employers and employees, but public sector, journalists and other interested persons are welcome, too.

The conference will be held in Tallinn, on November 3, 2005.

Preliminary content of the conference

Introductions of the results of the research
 –  Legal background for information and consultation of employees in Estonia and in the EU
 –  The practices of information and consultation in the other EU countries
 –  Information and consultation practices in Estonia, based on the companies survey and case studies
 –  Information and consultation and satisfaction of workers in Estonia

Discussion panel – experts, Latvian and Lithuanian social partners representatives – situation in Baltic countries

Different practices in EU countries and UNICE’s position
 –  Great Britain – work councils
 –  Germany – workers involvement
 –  UNICE – positions on workers involvement

Discussion panel – lecturers – trends in Europe on relevant issue

Experiences of Estonian entrepreneurs and employees representatives
 –  Work councils experience
 –  Conflict solving through social dialogue
 –  Best practices

Discussion panel – representatives of employers and employees

Conclusion – Estonian Employers’ Confederation, Confederation of Estonian Trade Unions

Lecturers
Based on good cooperation with German and British employer’s organisations we would like to invite experts who would talk about old EU member countries’ best practices of employers and workers partnership in information and consultation activities. As well we hope an expert from UNICE will be able to give a lecture about UNICE’s position on relevant issue as well as a speaker from a trade union, either on national or European level will be able to give a lecture about their position on a relevant issue such as information and consultation.

The guests from Latvia and Lithuania (both employers’ and workers representatives) are expected to give overview of their experiences in information and consultation field in the discussion panel of the conference.

The international experience exchange and the mutual learning process will give extra value to participation in the conference.

Technical questions
The conference will have the English-Estonian-English simultaneous interpretation. Copies of all presentations will be available in the conference map, as well in digital format at the homepages of Estonian Employers’ Confederation, Confederation of Estonian Trade Unions and PARE

2.3 Follow-up

As the follow-up events we plan internal training courses in enterprises or for groups of enterprises (for example branch associations), especially in those, which will take part of the research. At least five meetings with different enterprises or groups of enterprises will take place in the last stage of the project. In these meetings the experts of the project will introduce the results of study more peculiarly and give suggestions to improving communication systems. Consultations in issues of the involvement of employees could continue after the end of project and could be the ongoing service of the social partners organisations.

The all materials and products of the project will be available at the homepage of Estonian Employers’ Confederation.

The project will end with evaluation meetings of all partners and writing the report of the project.

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