What is the difference between works council, staff council and trade union?
Trade unions are made up of employees as well as other persons (such as pensioners, students, job seekers, etc.). A trade union is made up of all its members. Trade unions are not only active in one company, but in one or more entire sectors. Trade unions are collective bargaining parties and negotiate collective agreements with individual employers or the employers' association of an industry.
Works councils and staff councils represent the employees of a company. For this purpose, employees elect colleagues from their company to the works council or staff council. It then champions the rights of all employees in the company and negotiates, for example, works agreements.
Trade unions often actively support the establishment of a works council. Trade unions offer seminars for elected works councils on all important issues relating to the work of works councils. They also support the works councils with information and advice.
Works councils and staff councils are often trade union members. However, this is not mandatory.