The European Commission is considering responses to a call for comments from social partners on how they think three directives, concerning collective rights, transfer of undertakings and informing and consulting workers, should develop.
In a statement it said a “fitness check” it undertook on the three directives found they are “generally relevant, coherent and efficient.
However, the check did find some gaps and shortcomings related to the practical operation of the directives as regards wording and definitions.”
This may result in the three directives being rolled into one or at least being simplified.
The TUC, through the European TUC, has made its views known to the European Commission. It would particularly like, says policy officer Hannah Reed, the definition of what constitutes an establishment for the purpose of collective consultations strengthened. “The TUC supports the European Trade Union Confederation’s (ETUC) view that each separate unit should be considered as an establishment. Ideally we would prefer no thresholds whatsoever and we are concerned employers can avoid thresholds by breaking their organisations up into smaller units.”
Reed says the ETUC does not want the three direc¬tives rolled into one as that “could lead to a watering down of rights”.
The European Commission’s consultation raises the prospect of adopting the more demanding definitions of information and consultation from the 2009 European Works Council Directive. According to the European Commission, harmonising standards ‘upwards’ in this way would contribute to ‘a more effective exercise of the rights and obligations of all’ concerned.
Lara Murray, a specialist in Employment Law at Palmers said: “There are some who feel this could detrimentally affect employers because stricter obligations to inform and consult could result in delays to business restructuring, mergers, sales and other business change, as well as the potential for more litigation alleging breaches of the new and more extensive consultation rights, not to mention an increased risk of leaks regarding market-sensitive, confidential information.”
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