Unions in the UK could gain more powers under employment provisions in the EU draft constitution, according to employment law experts.
The draft constitution, which will be debated at an intergovernmental conference at the end of this month, is expected to give legal force to the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, which could lead to more power for workers over collective bargaining, strike action, discrimination and protection over unfair dismissal.
Neil Bentley, head of employee relations at the CBI, said employers should be taking notice of the proposals.
One concern is that under article 28 of the fundamental rights charter, UK unions could find it easier to achieve recognition and wield greater influence within organisations.
Bentley said: “It would give the unions a strong framework to lobby for changes to the law in the UK on collective bargaining and strike action.”
The constitution is also expected to remove the UK’s unanimity on social issues, ending its power to veto proposals. It would then have to rely on forming a blocking minority of opposing countries to fight proposals.
Jonathan Chamberlain, a partner at Wragge & Co, said one main concern is the lack of detail in the charter of fundamental rights, which means a lot will rely on the interpretation by the European courts.