European food market is made up of about 310.000 companies and 4,8 million employees. Despite this large number of companies, most are small in scale and only a few are able to compete on the global market.

The food industry is thus characterized by fragmentation. There are few European multinational companies competing worldwide with a wide variety of products, but 99% of all enterprises in the food sector are small and medium sized (SMEs).

Recent competitiveness studies have shown the need to address the challenge of decreasing competitiveness facing the European food and drink industry. In 2009, the High Level Group on the Competitiveness of the Agro-Food Industry issued 30 recommendations addressed to policy makers and to private stakeholders. This was followed by the adoption of a Roadmap of Key Initiatives proposing concrete actions and timetable. In addition, in the Communication “A better functioning food supply chain in Europe” (COM (2009) 591), the Commission announced several policy initiatives in this field and committed to maintain a constructive dialogue with all stakeholders in the food supply chain. For this purpose, the Commission decided in July 2010 to extend the scope and membership of the High Level Group by establishing the High Level Forum for a Better Functioning Food Supply Chain with a mandate of two years.

During his work, the High Level Forum for a Better Functioning Food Supply Chain has identified the following critical issues that concern the European food industry:

  • Competitiveness on the internal and external markets for smart growth;
  • Responsible innovation for sustainable growth;
  • Transparency and consumer empowerment for inclusive growth;
  • Food price monitoring;
  • Ensure a continue multi-stakeholder dialogue.

In order to guarantee a better functioning of Conserve Italia and Campofrio EWCs it is necessary to offer to all members an appropriate training activity. In fact in order to improve knowledge, skills, attitude of the EWC members the project aims to carry out a joint training action in order to provide operational knowledge tools for the concrete implementation of contents of the settlement agreement of European Works Council and to put into practice the content of the Directive 2009/38/EC for the implementation of information and consultation of employees. Moreover, through the project training activity, Campofrìo and Conserve Italia EWC members will be able to develop a concrete and detailed analysis of its own activities and problems. In this way, targeted and binding solutions can be agreed upon and all members have the opportunity to be involved in the further development of the EWC activities.

The EWC Conserve Italia is the one of the last European Work Council of food industry established according to the contents of Directive 2009/38/EC. On the 24th of May 2013 a Memorandum of understanding for the installation of a European Consultation and Information Council has been signed among legal representatives of Conserve Italia Group, workers representatives (FLAI CGIL, FAI CISL, UILA UIL, FEAGRA CC.OO., FGTA-TO, CGT) and EFFAT. This agreement allows to start a new route to permit Conserve Italia’s workers to apply their rights of information and consultation about corporate strategy and industrial development project.

The experience of EWC Conserve Italia had already begun in 2003. In fact, on 13th of May 2003, the first agreement for the establishment of an EWC Conserve Italia had been signed. This agreement provided that the EWC would consist of six employee representatives (three Italians, two French and one Polish), one annual meeting, the right for the employee delegates to choose one expert and Trade Union presence.

Relationship problems among the national union representatives and the production reorganization choices adopted by the company’s management (in 2005/2006 the factory in Poland was closed) are the main causes that have hampered the functioning of the EWC Conserve Italia. The new agreement for the constitution of a European Council for information and consultation was signed according to the Italian D.lgs. 113/2012 and European Directive 2009/38/EC, thus replacing the previous agreement. Conserve Italia’s EWC is now composed by the Group President, a representative from the European federation of Food agriculture and tourism (EFFAT) and 11 workers’ representatives from the following countries:

– 6 members from Italy;

– 3 members from France;

– 2 members from Spain.

Conserve Italia is one of the main agro food industries in Europe. In thirty years it has reached an international dimension through the control of several corporations in Italy, France and Spain and it can now be placed at the top of the conserving industry as for sales volume, amount of transformed raw materials and quality of its products. In 2013/2014 the sales volume amounted to 993 mln of Euros. The corporate headquarters are located in San Lazzaro di Savena in the province of Bologna.

Instead, the experience of Campofrìo EWC had begun in 2009. In fact, on 4th of march 2009, the first agreement for the establishment of an Campofrìo EWC according to the Directive 94/95/EU had been signed. This agreement provided that the EWC would consist of 14 members (2 members from the Netherlands, 2 members from Belgium, 2 members from Portugal, 3 members from France, 3 members from Spain and 2 members from Romania), one annual meeting, the right for the employee delegates to choose one expert and Trade Union presence.

Following several company development and restructuring processes (in particular the acquisition of Cesare Fiorucci Spa in 2011) in October 2012 a new agreement on Campofrìo EWC had been signed. As to this new installation agreement the EWC is composed of 15 members on the basis of this distribution:

–  2 members from the Netherlands

–  2 members from Belgium

–  2 members from Portugal

–  3 members from France

–  4 members from Spain

–  2 members from Italy.

Campofrìo Food Group is one of the largest companies in the processed meat sector, and one of the leading European food companies by 2015. It is present in Europe and America through eight business units based in Spain, Italy, Portugal, US (South Region), Germany, Belgium, France and The Netherlands (North Region) and two joint ventures, Caroli Foods Group (Romania) and Jean Caby (France). Because of this significant presence it was able to extend its penetration to all 27 EU members and respond to growth opportunities in other markets. In 2014 Campofrìo Food Group reached 407,500 tons of volume production and 1.9 billion euros of total annual sales. The corporate headquarters are located in Madrid.