Union cheer as European Parliament amends labour laws

Trade unions have claimed victory in the battle over the European Parliament’s final report on the modernisation of labour law after last-minute changes were accepted.

Several amendments were made by MEPs in Strasbourg before the paper drawn up in response to the European Commission’s Green Paper on labour laws was adopted by 479 votes to 61.

A spokesman for the continent’s union umbrella body, the European Trade Union Confederation, said: “We welcome the European Parliament’s clear message to the European Commission that the modernisation of labour law must cover adequate protection, equal treatment and quality jobs for all workers.”

However, employers refused to concede defeat over the wording of the policy document.

David Yeandle, deputy director of employment policy at manufacturers’ body the EEF, told Personnel Today: “As a result of the amendments that some MEPs had agreed at last week’s plenary session in Strasbourg, the final version of the report is now a better-balanced document, with a helpful statement about the importance of having flexible working arrangements.”

Yeandle did express concerns over the report’s call for member states to extend the provision of parental leave and childcare, and over revisions to dispute resolution procedures.

But he added: “Under the circumstances, it is probably as good a report as we could reasonably have expected from the European Parliament, given the significant differences of view on the first draft of this report that had been expressed by MEPs.”

The European Commission will now review consultation responses before it publishes a final policy statement on the issue later on in the year.


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