Whenever labour conditions have to be changed, the employer has to consult the Works Council and ask for advice and/or consent. For example in case of contracting another Health Service, an increase of employee contributions for the pension plan or the introduction of a new disability benefit.
The Works Council represents the interests of all colleagues and the employer and has to balance these interests in the best way. Therefore, it is important to be informed properly. In many cases this involves complicated matters or cases of which you can not predict the long term effects. Well known examples are the transition from defined benefit to defined contribution plans or renewal projects.
Good to know is that as of 1 October 2016 the right of consent for the Works Council has been expanded. This right is now also applicable on topics like the accrual percentage, the offset for state pension and the choice of provider.
The Works Council has the possibility and legal right to choose their own advisor. It is also in the interest of the employer that the Works Council is well-informed, making it an outstanding discussion partner for complex matters.