The call was made by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, in its formal response to the Government’s latest consultation on implementing into UK legislation the EU Directive on "Information and Consultation at National Level".
In its response, EEF welcomed a number of the general principles in the Government’s proposed approach, including protecting existing information and consultation arrangements and encouraging voluntary agreements, but expressed serious concerns about some important issues that the legislation must take into account. These include:
Enabling employers to have information and consultation arrangements at either the "establishment" or "undertaking" level according to their organisational structure and employee relations culture
Clarifying the relationship between this new legislation and existing legislation about consulting employees on issues such as collective redundancies and business transfers
Providing greater legislative clarity about the issues on which information and consultation will have to take place
· Making the criteria for establishing "valid" voluntary information and consultation agreements less restrictive
· Reviewing the membership of the Central Arbitration Committee so that it includes individuals with practical experience of information and consultation arrangements in non-unionised organisations
Urging the Government to adopt this approach, EEF Director of Employment Policy, Peter Martin, said :
"If the Government’s stated objective of increasing the number of high performance workplaces – which EEF fully supports – is to be achieved, it must be brave and create a legislative framework that minimises the uncertainty for employers about what this important legislation means and avoids creating bureaucratic complexity."
"In must also avoid passing all the risks of uncertainty from the Government onto hard-pressed employers by clarifying the relationship of this new legislation with existing information and consultation legislation"