EC urges firms to do duty to staff

The European Commission has been concerned about restructuring of major
companies and closures, as it feels that not all the firms concerned have met
their respon-sibilities to workers and their communities.

Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou has pinpointed issues such as a lack of
information and consultation to employees who are losing their jobs and the few
training measures put in place to improve the employability of workers.

The commission has presented "a comprehensive package on corporate
restructuring". It includes a proposal for legal guarantees to workers
regarding advance information and consultation, a stimulus to businesses to
plan restructuring early and a first discussion on how to focus other community
policies, such as competition, state aid and structural funds, on the new needs
of companies and workers.

Legislation and checklist

– The Community is finalising and implementing legislation on consultation,
and publishing a checklist summarising corporate legal obligations on
information and consultation as well as good practice.

The legislative measures include:

– Finalising and rapid adoption of the amended proposal for the general
framework for information and consultation of employees

– Adoption of the European Company Statute and its rules on worker
involvement

– Review of the European Works Council directive, previously resisted.

The commission will also examine the interaction between community
competition law on mergers and acquisitions and the social consequences of such
operations.

There will also be a consultation exercise with the social partners on how
to develop corporate responsibility for facilitating change.

Diamantopoulou has said, "If adaptation to change is part of a company’s
mental make-up and involves the workforce throughout, the company will reap the
economic benefits of loyalty from workforce and customers."

A comprehensive package can be seen on the Europa website: www.europa.eu.int/comm/index_en.htm

 Look out for:

Green Paper on Social Responsibility – to be published this month.

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