Minister attacks rights directive over job losses

THE ACQUIRED Rights Directive is an example of European law which has “harmed competitiveness and destroyed jobs”, the Government said.

Employment minister Phillip Oppenheim, who recently released a consultation document on the European Commission's proposals to amend the directive, says it has caused “great uncertainty” for employers and staff.

However, he said that although the proposals aim to address a number of issues raised with the commission by the UK Government, the suggested changes are not clear enough.

The commission has put forward a number of proposals including the key idea of excluding from the directive's scope the contracting out of a function or activity where it does not amount to an undertaking.

“We shall need to be sure that the meaning of any revised text is certain so as to avoid the constant need for interpretation by the courts which has so bedevilled the existing directive,” said Oppenheim.

“An employment law which is unclear in its scope is of no use. All too often changes in the interpretation of the existing directive have left employers and employees unsure of their rights and obligations. That cannot be in anyone's interest.”