UK employers oppose plans for all EU workers to have equal protection

UK employers have slammed EU plans for all workers to be given equal protection under employment law.

A consultation closed last month on an EU Green Paper seeking to update regulations to deal with increasingly varied employment contracts. Fears have been raised in Brussels that this will force a re-write of UK labour laws, and trigger a huge increase in trade union power. Manufacturers group the EEF told MEPs it was “unrealistic to think that a single labour market model could suit all 27 member states”.

The EEF’s response to the consultation opposed legislation extending full employee status to all workers on the following grounds:

  • It would be impractical and would raise labour costs.

  • It would undermine the flexible way in which the manufacturing sector engages such workers – and so defeat the purpose of recruiting them.

  • A standard EU definition of ‘worker’ and ’employee’ is unworkable, largely due to the differences in member states’ tax and social security regimes.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation also used its response to insist that flexibility should remain in the UK employment market.

Chief executive Marcia Roberts said: “We are concerned that there appears to be an assumption that those who do not work in permanent positions are in some way disadvantaged.

“Temporary work can provide a vital route back into the labour market for those who are made redundant or are unemployed.

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