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Eu Directives

Volume 408: debated on Friday 11 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry with which business leaders she has had discussions regarding the implementation of the EU directive on information and consultation; what conclusions she drew from these regarding business attitudes towards the directive; and if she will make a statement. [125295]

The Government have consulted extensively on how best to implement the EC Information and Consultation Directive. As a first step we published a discussion document in July last year and held a series of roundtable discussions up and down the country during the autumn with a wide range of individual businesses and their representatives, unions and employment experts. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and other Government ministers attended the roundtables and heard views directly from those who will be affected by the directive. Building on this initial consultation, the Government then held discussions with the CBI and TUC, and a range of other organisations about implementation. An agreed framework for implementing the directive was published on 7 July 2003 in a consultation document "High Performance Workplaces: Informing and consulting employees", together with draft legislation and a regulatory impact assessment on which we are inviting comments. The Government were aware that business might be concerned about how the directive will be implemented in the UK. This is why we have agreed with the CBI and the TUC a framework for implementation that is flexible, and allows firms to agree with their staff arrangements that are best suited to the individual circumstances of the business.