Filtering “common sense” to benefit the employer

Victoria Phillips is head of employment rights at Thompsons Solicitors

The Thompsons Solicitors blog

 

David Cameron has stepped up his campaign against worker’s rights by asking for a “common sense filter” on EU ‘red tape’.

 

A business task force commissioned by the government and made up of only employer representatives has identified 30 priority areas where EU regulations are said to be a barrier to economic growth, from ‘excessively strict’ food labeling to health and safety assessments.

 

The report is predicated on the basis that anything that protects people, such as workers’ rights, data protection and even controls on clinical trials for new medicines is a costly ‘encumbrance’.

 

EU regulations on employment rights apparently cause ‘a huge headache’ for employers and the “common sense”. The solution? Attack the rights of working people.

 

The report suggests, amongst other things scrapping proposed protection for British workers sent to other EU countries, removing the rights of agency workers – an increasingly common feature of the employment market in rapidly privatising public services – to equal pay with non agency staff, and stopping measures that would make abuses of work experience by employers illegal.

 

Singled out for particular attack by the taskforce is the Working Time Directive (WTD) because of ‘problems’ caused by European Court rulings that have ‘expanded the original scope of the legislation’.  It’s a familiar refrain as it parrots the government’ line in its consultation on the issue in May 2011.

 

The report’s self justificatory line that employment and health and safety laws simply represent a burden to business and bring no benefit is familiar stuff from this government and its mates in business but marrying that rhetoric with “common sense” is dishonest as good employers are well aware.

 

Read the Labour & European Law Review on the Business Taskforce report “Cut EU red tape” – http://www.thompsonstradeunionlaw.co.uk/information-and-resources/lelr/weekly-342.htm

 

ENDS

 

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