Module 6: One-day workshop "Industrial relations in the Netherlands (Works Council and trade unions)"

In general, employees in the Netherlands have a strong position and a prominent position, fulfilled by the employee participation body.

As a manager in an international company based in the Netherlands, you may be a director of your organization – and from that position you are automatically dealing with the employee participation body, the Works Council (Ondernemingsraad, OR) or staff representation (Personeelsvertegenwoordiging, Pvt) for whom you are a discussion partner.

But also when you belong to middle or lower management, as a regional manager or manager of a service or department, or of a team, or when you are an HR-professional you often have dealings with the Works Council. You must provide information requested by them to the director and prepare notes or business plans on desired changes in your organizational unit that form the basis for requests for advice from the director to the Works Council. And you yourself could be a direct discussion partner of the Works Council on all matters that concern your organization.

How do you deal with this in a contemporary way?


In the Netherlands, there is much talk of the early involvement of the Works Council in decision-making or making use of employees with specific knowledge who contribute ideas and collaborate in theme or working groups on sub-themes. Or forms in which all employees are directly involved in employee participation work, such as in sociocratic companies.

How does your organization check whether one of these forms fits your company and how do you approach its introduction? What opportunities and risks do these new forms offer you as a manager – and what is your role in each of these forms?

As an included service, we offer each individual participant of any first of our workshops a one hour personal intake & advice (in person or online).


The following questions are addressed:

  • What is my role as a manager or HR-professional vis-à-vis the Works Council and trade unions?
  • What is the basis of the Dutch Works Councils Act (WOR): how is the Works Council composed, which confidentiality requirements can be imposed and to which facilities and support is the Works Council entitled, what are the rights of consultation, information, advice and consent, and how about the legal proceedings that an OR can conduct?
  • What should I know about trade unions, the formation and content of collective agreements and social plans? What are tips for the process of interviewing or negotiating with trade unions and what are contemporary ways of dealing and cooperating with trade unions?
  • What about new forms of employee participation? What forms are there, which organizations have gained experience with it and what are their experiences? What are the pros and cons for the director, works council and employees?
  • What are the legal frameworks (WOR, CAO) and legal aspects of new forms of employee participation: what are the challenges – what should you look out for? What has to be in order for it to be a success? The preconditions; success and failure factors at introduction. Tips for orientation or what is for your organization – and a step-by-step plan for implementation.
  • What is the role of HR, the Works Council and management in utilizing the ‘wisdom of the crowd’, in which you encourage your team, department, organization to formulate the best ideas and solutions, but also to suggest new themes? and bottlenecks that can be tackled together.

Benefits from the programme

After attending this workshop with a maximum of eight participants you know how you can fulfill your role as a manager or HR-professional in promoting critical and constructive employee participation in the Netherlands in a way that suits you and your organization.

In addition, you go home with solutions for the cases you brought in during the workshop so that you can achieve concrete results.

A certificate of achievement is provided.

Workshop location

The workshops are held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Villa Mollerus (Mollerusstraat 1) in Baarn, 10 m. walk from Baarn train station, circa 30 min. from Amsterdam and Utrecht. The workshops always include an extensive lunch, in the same building.

‘On location’ workshops are hybrid, i.e. they allow for online participation as well, which works well given the fact that we work in small groups (maximum number of 8 participants). The prices for the on-site and online workshops are the same.


This one-day workshop is one of seven modules of the Learning path Dutch labour law and HRM for contemporary management. We also offer this workshop as an in-company or as a one-on-one session, customized to the needs of your organization and yourself. 

Dates in 2023/2024

Your investment

€ 795 excluding VAT, payable in advance and including one hour personal intake & advice, reading materials, tea/coffee/lunch.

Change of prices for modules that will take place after January 1, 2024:

Prices of the overall program and in-company workshops will remain the same.

Prices of individual modules will be € 997   ex VAT – with a 10 % discount after purchase of the fourth module.

If your branch, professional or network organization has a cooperation agreement with us, a discount may apply. Indicate this under remarks during registration, stating the organization.


We provide a ‘Certificate of Achievement’.


The course was extremely useful – I feel a lot more informed and confident to purse matters in the workplace. I like the approach – not ‘death by powerpoint’! Was never boring. About the trainer: 10/10, very easy to listen to, engaging and relaxed. I like the inclusion of group experience and advice too.

Janine Smith


Really useful course for my work. I work in HR in the Netherlands for a mid-large size company. It really showed me areas we aren’t doing things correctly, and where we can improve.

Jeanie Edwards

Backbase B.V.

I appreciated that the trainer could share his rich experience in Dutch employment law and that we could discuss specific practical examples in a small group of participants.

Kerstin Herzog

Brunswick EMEA

Content was well paced and all suitable for application in an HR setting. Arthur was a very good trainer in that he not only explained what the law states but he also gave some very good examples that were easy to grasp and see how the law is applied. (10/10 via Springest)

Tessa Marie van Avendonk

Corinthia Hotel, HR Manager

It was an amazing training day filled with essential Dutch employment topics and we were able to address personal workplace scenarios to help us navigate our policies/new approaches right away. Arthur was a great with many insights. I would highly recommend! facilitator with many insights. I would highly recommend! (10/10 via Springest)

Cassandra Rodenhurst

SilverFlow, HR Manager

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