A new draft of the Information and Consultation directive has raised fears that
UK firms will no longer be able to phase in its introduction and that they
could face tough penalties if they breach it.
At a meeting in Europe last week Fiorella Ghilardotti, who oversees the EU
directive, published a draft which in- tends to reduce the flexibility within
the original agreement, including prescriptive sanctions against companies
across Europe and rapid implementation.
It throws doubt over the EU social council agreement struck on 11 June that
UK firms with more than 150 employers have three years to implement the
directive, those with more than 100 staff have five years and those with 50 or
more, seven years.
David Yeandle, deputy director of the Engineering Employers Federation,
said, "Informing and consulting employees on a regular basis about
business issues can make a valuable contribution.
"However, a one-size-fits-all approach is not appropriate. Any
directive must provide employers with flexibility in the way they implement
it," he said.
Employers bodies in the UK are calling on MEPs to avoid prescriptive
sanctions, and allow businesses to adapt through phased implementation.
The European Parliament is set to vote on the issue between 22 and 25