The Works Council and money, a tricky combination. You have independent rights to spend money, but there’s also some social pressure.
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As a trainer/coach of works councils, I see it happening increasingly more often: Works Councils first look at the price of an OR training or support. The content often comes second. Of course, you have to look at the price, but above all, you should look at what you want to achieve and take a critical look at what is the best way to achieve it. It has to be a very deliberate choice. After all, you are looking for the most value for money.
a comparison with a recruitment policy
As an organisation in this job market, you can quickly choose from several applicants to fill a vacancy. These applicants can vary, from totally inexperienced to people who have earned their stripes in their profession.
In a healthy organisation, a well-considered choice will be made. We all see the connection between an inexperienced and (therefore) cheap new employee and someone with a lot of experience who logically only wants to leave their current position with a good salary.
The choice is between paying little now and perhaps paying more later, or paying more now and benefiting directly from your investment.
rights and obligations
As a Works Council, there are certain obligations, as well as rights, that apply. You have an obligation to be an independent representative of all employees in the organisation. And to guarantee that, the legislature has given you rights. It’s actually quite simple.
comparing tenders and quotations
Works Councils frequently tell me their management wants three price quotations to compare. Or, in the case of government Works Councils, they say a tender procedure is required. The reason? “That is how it’s always done with large expenses in our organisation”.
The rulings of the Dutch Supreme Court on this subject are clear: tendering for OR training is not permitted. Nor should the management have any influence on the choice of trainer or the content of the training.
social and moral pressure
In some cases, the management that tries to limit the expenses of the Works Council with social or moral arguments such as “we also don’t organise off-site team days” or applying even more pressure by stating that “your training comes at the expense of the training budget of the entire organisation.” You can give in to these arguments, but do they really matter? The guidance the legislator wants to provide is focused on making you an equal discussion partner. Is that the case in this situation?
The independence of the works council must be guaranteed in accordance with the law and court rulings. All regulations are aimed at allowing the Works Council to independently determine the content and purpose of their training, meetings or conversations.
Because people (the government, the Social-Economic Council (SER), national politics) want to bring you as a Works Council member to the same professional level as your discussion partner, i.e. the management, they are providing you with knowledge about matters such as conversation and meeting techniques, political operations and management skills. They want you to gain experience in communicating your point of view or opinion in a professional and well-founded manner. In short: they want you to be taken seriously and be able to ensure that people in the organisation apply what you told them. After all, you represent all employees.
your Works Council budget is at least €15,000 per year
To guarantee the independence of the Works Council, the SER made additional statements about the WOR rights. These stipulate that every Works Council in the Netherlands is entitled to a budget of approx. €15,000 for training and counselling (apart from hiring experts for specific topics).
To be clear: this is your right, but you can always opt not to claim your right (in part or in full). The decision is entirely up to you as an independent Works Council.
you make that decision!
Whether you opt for cheap or expensive, selecting the Works Council trainer you like so much, or selecting a renowned institute, you must first determine your goal (or objective), and then find the best way to achieve this. You also have to realise: the training is never a goal in itself.
Make sure you get an optimal return on your investment, in both time and money!
Note: Please note that we are a Dutch organisation and that all our information is originally composed in Dutch. For the benefit of our English-speaking customers we have translated some of our online information. We are still in the process of translating even more of our information. It could therefore be that you will come across Dutch pages on CT2.nl. Please contact us if you would like more information.