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The UK and EU directives on labour law. July 25, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Recently a comrade suggested that the UK hadn’t signed up to EU directives on labour law. Correct-ish. In other words… there were famous derogations, but… but… the UK actually did accept a significant tranche of directives which were EU originated.

Here’s one listing.

And here’s another.

As the Guardian noted.

The EU has had a massive influence over UK employment law rights. The following were introduced by virtue of our membership of the EU, and are at risk if we leave or renegoniate our membership terms (this is not an exhaustive list).


It doesn’t stop there. There are also employment laws derived from the EU regarding transfers of undertakings (when the business you work for is sold or taken over), collective redundancies, and works councils (giving employees the right to receive information about a business and be consulted about some of its activities).

Not to be sniffed at. And it would be a brave person who will argue that the Tories won’t roll all this back given half a chance. I’ve always argued that the EU is a mixed blessing. It is vitally important to be aware of the negatives and to push back against them. But likewise the positives are far from unimportant. And here’s a point from the Guardian:

The UK has traditionally been among the most active opponents of European employment rights, only grudgingly accepting many of the social aspects and only when it has had to. In many cases, such employment rights have been seen by the government to frustrate a flexible workforce and add red-tape to businesses.


In some cases the government has managed to block the introduction of European rights altogether through its vote on the Council of Ministers. But in other cases the European workplace agenda carries on. The government is, for example, presently being forced to adopt a EU directive for additional parental leave – its preferred option is to increase leave to up to 18 weeks a year, which is the minimum implementation of EU requirements.


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