Once the council is up and running, in theory, it will give employees a say in business issues, including reorganizations or layoffs. Under European Union rules, companies are required by law to create a council if enough employees in two countries request it.
Earlier in March, 153 Google employees hailing from several European offices wrote to executives requesting the council be created, according to a Bloomberg report. In turn, Google agreed to begin creating the council and said it will start discussions with employees shortly. People familiar with the matter told Bloomberg the council will likely have employee representatives from 35 Google offices in Europe and will meet several times per year. The workers' council won't be able to prevent Google from business decisions but they do get a voice and a vote on some issues.
By agreeing to let employees have more of a say in European operations, Google could improve relationships with its workers, which has suffered over the past few years. Employees have raised ire about Google's practices. It has faced protests over its contracts with the military in the U.S. and its agreement to create a search engine for China that would censor information and block websites. Google has since walked back that project in response to employee backlash.
A Google workers council already exists in France where it is required by law and a similar group is being created in Zurich.