European directive on staff consultation will be implemented

European
ministers have voted through the controversial EU directive on staff
consultation at the social policy council meeting today in Luxembourg.

The
proposal was third on the agenda, and experts believe the directive will go
before the European Parliament in the next few months.

The
Information and Consultation directive, which will set a legal requirement for
all companies with more than 50 staff to inform and consult them on key
business issues, could become law in Europe by the end of the year and be implemented
in the UK as early as 2004.

European
consultant Peter Reid said that a majority of member states had passed the
agenda item and that there were no concessions on the time to implement the
directive. Member states will have three years to implement the directive in
their own countries once it is passed by the European Parliament.

Reid said,
“The battle now has to be fought in the UK and it is up to HR professionals to
take up this challenge and articulate the arguments. We do not want to end up with
a domestic UK law which will be a straitjacket.”

Reid’s
consultancy PRC-Europe is setting up briefings in London over the next few
months on the implications of the directive for employers.

www.PRC-Europe.com

By Catriona
Marchant

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