Employers back draft report on EU labour law modernisation plans

Employers have backed a draft report on the European Union’s modernisation of labour laws – but warned that pressure could mount for it to be changed.

The European Parliament last month published the draft in response to the Green Paper, Modernising Labour Law to Meet the Challenges of the 21st Century.

Among a raft of proposals, the draft report insisted that a single definition of ‘worker’ across Europe would be “unrealistic”. This has met with approval from employers, who feared that flexible, part-time and self-employed workers would be given the same rights as those on full-time contracts.

Steve Coventry, campaigns adviser at manufacturers’ body the EEF, told Personnel Today: “We are pretty sanguine about the report. But the fear is that trade unions and socialist MEPs will try to make amendments and there will be a compromise.”

The EEF has previously insisted that enforcing a single labour market model across the EU would be very difficult and would undermine flexible working.

Last month, Philip Bushill-Matthews, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, said the Green Paper raised fears of a radical restructuring of the UK labour market.

“Some people are worried because they think the Left will seize this opportunity to think of every law they could ever want and bring everyone under the same powers,” he told Personnel Today.

The EU Parliament will publish a final report in the summer, following which the European Commission will make a final policy statement after it has reviewed consultation responses on the issue.

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