UK government attempts to avoid impact of EU on employment legislation fail

An EU law expert will next week tell trade unions that the government’s attempts to avoid the effect of the European constitution on employment legislation have failed.

Professor Brian Bercusson, who lectures in European social and labour law at King’s College London, has prepared a report for the TUC on the potential effects of the new constitution.

In his report, Bercusson said: “The attempt by the New Labour government to ‘protect’ the UK’s restrictive labour laws from the fundamental rights proclaimed in the European Constitution failed. The fallback of reliance on the ‘explanations’ to mitigate the consequences of the Charter is similarly unlikely to have the effect desired. There will be no ‘protecting’ UK labour laws, frequently condemned by the supervisory bodies of the ILO and the Council of Europe for violations of international labour standards, from the impact of the fundamental trade union rights guaranteed by the EU Charter.”

Bercusson also thinks that the EU Charter will serve as a means of challenging UK law, which has insufficiently transposed European rights, and that employees will be able to use it as a means of challenging unfairness at work.

The report will be presented at the TUC’s annual congress, to be held next week (13 September).