MEPs set to vote on consultation laws

European ministers were poised to vote through the controversial EU
directive on staff consultation at the social policy council meeting in
Luxembourg, as Personnel Today went to press.

The proposal was third on the agenda, and experts believe the directive will
go before the European Parliament in the next few months. The 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 implemented in the UK as early as 2004.

European consultant Peter 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 domestic UK law which
will be a straitjacket."

Irish Labour minister Tom Kitt was quoted in the Irish Times last week as
saying that Ireland will support the directive. Ireland, with the UK, Germany
and Denmark, had formed a minority group, blocking the vote. It is believed
that Danish and German reservations have also disappeared

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