Planet Labor understands HP has informed the SNB, which is negotiating  the agreement implementing the EWC (following the members’ own denunciation of the previous agreement), of the transfer of its European representation management to Ireland bringing the future EWC under Irish legislation.

Management explained the decision thus: “BREXIT and the UK’s possible withdrawal from the EEA create significant uncertainty about the future legal status in the UK of Directive 2009/38/EC (the “EWC Directive”) and bodies governed by the legislation that transposes the EWC Directive into UK law (“TICER”). This uncertainty affects companies like Hewlett Packard Enterprise that have a Special Negotiating Body (“SNB”) established to negotiate an EWC agreement to be governed by TICER. The spectre of Brexit is particularly unhelpful as it adds a previously unforeseen dimension to the negotiation of a solid and long-lasting EWC agreement.”

The EWC directive requires non-European companies to designate a representative agent in an EU Member State that will be responsible for negotiations. Most often the decision over the location is based on the legislation prevailing in the country. In 2012 employee representatives terminated an earlier EWC anticipation agreement, which had been in operation up until then, in the hopes that improved regulations from 2009 would be introduced into a new body. Dialogue recommenced and firstly it was agreed that the new EWC would no longer come under Belgian law and instead be subject to UK law. Brexit then stepped in, and so “the EWC agreement can no longer be governed by UK law” and will have to come under Irish law.

Negotiations with the SNB started in November 2015 and in theory negotiations can continue until November 2018. Management underlined that “this timeframe is unaffected by the change in representative agent,” and added, “The change in representative agent will not adversely affect employees or their representatives. Employees and their representatives will continue to have the same rights under their own national law.”