Report urges clarity on labour directive

THE EUROPEAN Parliament last week met to discuss proposed amendments to the Acquired Rights Directive after a preliminary report for members claimed planned changes to the text did not clarify the law.

The report says changes put forward last year by the European Commission “at best introduce an element of legal uncertainty” into the employment law arena.

It says the lack of clarity offered in the revamp “may be good for the legal profession”, which has been inundated with cases involving the rights and obligations of employers and employees.

But, it also warns that the revamp would run contrary to the commission's aims for bringing forward a new text.

For some time the scope of the 1977 directive has been called into question with the European Court of Justice ruling that the UK did not properly introduce it into domestic legislation.

The Legal and Social Affairs committees of the Parliament are now expected to propose clearer wording for the amendment.

“The whole thing is in a cloud of uncertainty,” says the Brussels representative of the Law Societies, Patrick Oliver. “The Law Societies of England and Wales and Scotland will be putting forward their suggestions.”

– The European Commission is also expected to propose a directive this month to enable consumer organisations to initiate court proceedings for unfair business behaviour in another state.