EU directive to increase employees’ rights could be law by next year

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. EU directive to increase employees’ rights could be law by next yearOn 13 Feb 2001 in Personnel Today The European Commission’sproposals to force all employers with more than 50 staff to consult theirworkforce on key business decisions could become law in Europe by next year. A European directive onconsultation and information is due to be discussed at a meeting of the socialaffairs ministers of the European Council on 7 May 2001. Sweden, which assumedthe European Union presidency in January, has put the directive firmly on theEU’s agenda. Advocates of the directive suchas the European Parliament Socialist Group are pressing the commission for aEuropean law on information and consultation for all firms by next year.Germany and the UK havepersistently blocked the directive, drafted by the European Commission in 1998.At present, only firms with more than 1,000 staff and employing more than 150in two or more countries have to consult with staff through European workscouncils.Convener of the EuropeanParliament Socialist Group on employment Stephen Hughes said, “Germany isnow ready to vote for a common position. With German and Danish ministers nowbacking the law, Ireland and the UK do not constitute a sufficient blockingminority.”The CBI, however, argues thatthere is little possibility of the EU directive on information and consultationbecoming enshrined in UK law. Simon Blake, employee relations policy adviserfor the CBI, said, “There has been a sustained campaign ofrumour-mongering by proponents of the directive. We know that the members ofthe blocking minority such as Germany, the UK and Denmark remain opposed to thedirective. I think it is highly unlikely that the directive will be passed nextyear.”  The CBI is strongly opposed to thedirective being incorporated into UK law. Blake said, “Our first objectionis on the grounds of principle. We already have legislation in place whichgoverns transnational issues such as the European Works Councils directive. “Second, the directive woulddamage good practice in employee relations. It will ride roughshod overpractices that companies already have in place by forcing a ‘one size fits all’policy on them.”The Government argues forsubsidiarity over employee consultation, with these matters being dealt with anational level. The Union of Industrial and Employers’ Confederation of Europe(Unice) supports this stance. Social affairs director Therese De Liederkerkesaid, “Legislation on information and consultation in purely national firmsshould not be regulated at a European level. All European countries havepolicies in place which cover employee consultation and this directive willupset national industrial relations policies.” The CIPD also opposes thedirective. Diane Sinclair, employee relations adviser for the CIPD, said,”Our position is that effective involvement is based on trust.”By Karen Higginbottom Previous Article Next Articlelast_img

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