Europe drafts rules to protect fearful workers

A
European Commission paper is proposing to limit companies’ rights to make
workers redundant and require job losses to be considered in merger rulings.

It
claims that Europe’s workers are increasingly fearful about restructuring and need
stronger protection, and has been drawn up by Anna Diamantopoulou, the
employment and social affairs commissioner.

European
business organisations are trying to block the paper. Digby Jones, director
general of the CBI, claimed he had written to all 20 commissioners warning that
the suggestions were highly damaging and that restructuring is critical to
business success. 

The
paper questions whether mergers and acquisitions are always justified,
according to the Financial Times, and claims that talks with staff are often
ineffective or take place too late.

The
paper, which has yet to go out to consultation, contains options that would:

*
Require job losses to be justified against options such as cutting investment
or profits

*
Give companies a duty to ensure the employabiltiy of workers being made
redundant, consult local communities, deal with abandonned factories and
consult the employees of sub-contractors

*
Require the Commission to take job losses into account in merger rulings

*
Give unions rights to see material provided to the competition authorities,
including confidential market sensitive information and to present a case
against mergers to the competition commissioner.  

By Mike Broad

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