As mentioned in our previous newsletter (See, VBB on Business Law, Volume 2015, No. 10, p. 16, available at www.vbb.com), social elections will take place between 9 May and 22 May 2016 to designate the members of the works council (WC) and/or committee for the prevention and protection on the work floor (CPPW). The election procedure is subject to a strict timeline which should be followed to avoid the elections being considered null and void and that new elections should be organised within the company. Non-compliance with the procedure can also lead to administrative or criminal fines.
What follows is a description of the steps that must be taken after the date of the posting of the actual election date(s), which is referred to as date X.
On date X the WC, CPPW or employer must post the following information in every establishment at a place accessible for all employees: date and timing of elections, address and name of the Technical Business Unit (TBU), number of mandates and division, voters’ lists or indication of the place where the lists are posted, list of “management staff” or indication of the place where the list is posted, list of “executives” or indication of the place where the list is posted, schedule of the elections and person or service charged with the distribution of the polling letters.
At the latest on date X+7 the employees and/or trade unions can lodge their objections with the WC, CPPW or employer regarding the preliminary voting lists (e.g. missing or erroneous information regarding the voters), the number of mandates and division per category, the list of “management staff” and the list of “executives”.
Between X+7 and X+14, the WC, CPPW or employer should make a decision regarding any objections raised and should inform the employees in case any corrections/changes are made.
Between X+14 and X+21 the employees and/or trade unions can lodge an appeal before the labour courts against the decision of the WC, CPPW or employer. The courts must hand down a judgment within 7 days from receipt of the petition.
On X+35 the lists of candidates must be filed. This causes the candidates to be finally known by the employer. Still, the period providing for protection from dismissal of the candidates already starts on X-30 and not on X+35 (See, VBB on Business Law, Volume 2015, No. 10, p. 16, available at www.vbb.com).
Between X+35 and X+40, the numbers of the lists are determined by the Minister of Labour and ultimately on X+40 the lists of candidates should be posted (this can be replaced by an electronic document if all employees can access this document during normal working hours).
On X+47 any modifications to the list of candidates are made (name of a candidate or withdrawal candidacy).
During a period of 7 days after the posting of the lists of candidates, the candidates and the representative trade unions may file a complaint with the employer related to the candidates. One day after the date of receipt of such a complaint, the employer will inform the representative trade union which had nominated the candidate. The trade union has until X+54 to modify the list of candidates, subject to exceptions. The representative trade unions are able to replace some candidates until X+76 in specific situations (death, withdrawal candidacy on X+47, resignation candidate as employee or from the representative trade union or a change of category of the candidate).
The employer can lodge an appeal before the labour courts against the lists of candidates during the period between X+47 and X+52, if no complaint is made by the candidates and/or the representative trade unions, and during the period X+56 and X +61 against the modified lists of candidates after a complaint of the candidates and/or the representative trade unions. The courts must hand down a judgment within 14 days following receipt of the petition.
On X+77 the candidate lists are finalised and the voting notes are drafted.
In the period X+40 till X+70 the polling stations are established.
On X+80 the voters receive their polling card for the election day on day X+90.