EU Employment Ministers today yesterday agreed to establish a European Company Statute and controversial new proposed law requiring worker participation in important company decisions. The planned legislation was first proposed 30 years ago and has been actively campaigned for by trade unions throughout the Union.
The proposed law will enable pan-European companies to be able to operate under EU law rather than under each national law where they are located. The European Commission claims this will result in reduced administrative costs for companies.
But the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) told HR zone's sister site EUbusiness that it did not think the statute would be of interest to UK companies.
A spokesman said that other important EU rules on related issues such as taxation, auditing, accounting and winding-up companies were still not in place and so this limited the operational capabilities of the statute.
And he added that CBI members ‘will be disappointed that worker participation remains at the heart of the proposed legislation’. He said the CBI said its attitude was ‘lukewarm’ to the planned statute.
The CBI’s view was unsurprisingly not shared by Employment Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou who said the milestone agreement married ‘the needs of business with the needs of workers’.
She defended the statute’s provision for obligatory worker participation in major company decisions.
‘Worker involvement helps to deal with the social side-effects of competition. Governments, business and workers should co-operate to respond positively to industrial change during this period of rapid globalisation,’ she said.
Under the directive on worker involvement, companies incorporated under the statute would have to provide workers with regular reports on current and future business plans, production and sales levels, implications of these for the workforce, management changes, mergers, divestments, potential closures and layoffs.
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