European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions
Together for decent work and fair pay from farm to fork

EFFAT and member organisations take Lactalis to court for breach of information and consultation rights


Brussels, 8 February 2018 | Over the last few years, in several occasions EFFAT has supported its affiliates demanding the establishment of a European Works Council in the Lactalis Group, a demand that the world leader of the dairy industry has always rejected.

In light of Lactalis’ negligence, EFFAT, the European Federation of Food Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions, together with other 9 of its affiliated unions from France, Spain, Italy and Belgium decided to take legal action against the French diary giant.

“We believe respect and recognition of your counterpart is essential to ensure constructive industrial relations at all levels. Information and consultation rights are key elements of the EU social acquis and cannot be neglected by transnational companies. We want Lactalis to stick to its obligations and be transparent with its employees. That is why we have decided to bring the Group to Court”, said Harald Wiedenhofer, EFFAT Secretary General.

In multinational companies decisions that have an impact on employees locally are increasingly taken at European or even at a global level. It is therefore crucial to ensure workers representatives are properly involved in the company’s decision making and have direct access to Central Management.

When this takes place, all actors involved benefit from this exercise which always ends up in a win-win situation. That’s why European and national legislation ensure the establishment of European Works Councils that are nowadays essential workers’ representative structures.

There is no reason why Lactalis should not respect such rules. If a EWC had been in place, EFFAT and its affiliates would have been able to anticipate important changes that affected the Group sites in Europe. Such infringement cannot be tolerated any longer.

The first Court hearing of the legal proceeding instituted by EFFAT and its affiliated unions against Lactalis will take place in Laval, Brittany, on 26 March 2018.


EFFAT is the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions. As a European Trade Union Federation representing 120 national trade unions from 35 European countries, EFFAT defends the interests of more than 22 million workers towards the European Institutions, European employers’ associations and transnational companies. EFFAT is a member of the ETUC and the European regional organisation of the IUF.