Publication Date

January 2001

Publication Details

Knudsen, H and Markey, R, Works Councils: Lessons From Europe for Australia, Working Paper 01-14, Department of Economics, University of Wollongong, 2001.


Any discussion of the viability of works councils in the Australian context needs to examine their operation in Europe, where they have a reasonably substantial history and have become an established part of the industrial relation infrastructure. In recent years, works councils have also expanded their reach in Europe, as a result of national and supranational (European Union) initiatives. Reference to a European form of works councils, however, may hide marked differences in the structure and operations of works councils between different west European countries. This article begins by examining in some detail the diverse European experience of works councils. Based on that experience, it then explores the potential advantages of works councils in the Australian context, and the most appropriate form that they should take.