CBI bows to inevitable and urges business to prepare for consultation

Despite its initial "substantial opposition" to the Information
and Consultation Directive, the CBI is urging businesses to audit their existing
employee involvement mechanisms in preparation for the March 2005 enforcement

Neil Bentley, head of the employee relations group at the CBI, said:
"Many companies are already doing very good things around informing and
consulting, but equally the process will be new to many."

Speaking at a seminar hosted by law firm Tite & Lewis in London last
week, Bentley said the CBI would publish guidance for its members in the near

He added that it was important that employers did not adopt a "one-size-fits-all"
solution to the directive. He urged them to sit down with their staff to agree
the way ahead.

Delegates heard about the legal ramifications of the regulations, as well as
from senior figures from the TUC and conciliation service Acas.

The chief message from all the speakers to UK employers is that doing
nothing is not an option.

Keith Sisson, head of strategy development at Acas, said that employers
needed to think about the potential costs of not implementing a consulting
framework, rather than the time and effort it might take initially.

The type of information to be discussed under the directive and what would
be classed as confidential was also highlighted as a key concern.


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