Conservatives condemn "socialist wish list" of redundancy rules

15-Jan-2013 @ 14:0

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

A raft of proposals which would make it much harder for companies to restructure their operations in difficult times has been adopted by the European Parliament today (Tues) in the face of resolute opposition from Conservative MEPs.

The report from the parliament's Employment Committee recommends new rules which would require any company with more than 100 staff go through a lengthy and complicated process before any restructuring - and would even make the firm responsible for retraining employees facing redundancy.

Conservative employment spokesman Anthea McIntyre has consistently opposed the proposals as a "socialist wish list" which would destroy the ability of struggling companies to stay afloat. She believes the proposed rules would leave them hamstrung at the very time they need to move promptly and effectively to restructure and save their businesses.

After today's vote in Strasbourg she said: "It is a disappointment that a majority of MEPs have chosen to back proposals which are unrealistic, impractical and self-defeating. These measures would not save a single job but could instead push struggling companies into collapse.

According to the proposals the legislation would become applicable if restructuring operations would affect at least 100 employees in a single company or 500 employees in a company and its dependent companies in one or more member states over a period of three months. As “dependent companies” could include any sub-contractor or supplier the proposal would lead to a very high degree of legal uncertainty for almost any employer in Europe.

The proposals specify that the restructuring company would be obliged to give an early explanation and justification to “all relevant stakeholders”. It would then be obliged to follow a checklist of alternatives which would have to be considered before a restructuring would take place.

The employer would also be made responsible for retraining redundant employees for employment in new jobs with other employers. Companies would be obliged to negotiate social plans and to monitor on a permanent basis the "psycho-social health" of redundant staff.

Another clause insists that "relevant measures should be taken several months prior to the proposed restructuring" and should "include the prompt provision of retraining courses".

Miss McIntyre said: "Fortunately these are not legislative proposals. They are in a so-called own-initiative report so the vote does not make them law. The European Commission is, however, obliged to respond to the suggestions and MEPs voted to urge the Commission to come forward as soon as possible with a legal act.

"I hope the response will be a sensible and practical one and will take note of our very grave fears about the thrust of these proposals."

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