Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 16 May 1996

Vol. 465 No. 5

Written Answers. - Worker Information and Consultation.

Tom Kitt


25 Mr. T. Kitt asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment the progress, if any, that has been made on the implementation of EU proposals in relation to works councils and the consultation of workers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9942/96]

In November 1995 the EU Commission issued a communication on worker information and consultation. The purpose of the communication is to put forward options for discussion in an effort to achieve progress on a number of Commission proposals which have been blocked in the Council of Ministers for some considerable time. These blocked proposals include draft Council regulations on the European Company, Co-operative, Association and Mutual and four associated Draft Directives on employee involvement.

Commission consultations on the Communication are in progress with the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the social partners at European level. The Communication does not represent Commission proposals as such, rather its purpose is to elicit views from those consulted in order to enable the Commission to decide on the nature of any formal proposals it might make to the Council regarding information and consultation of workers in an effort to resolve the difficulties in the Council about the employee involvement draft directives.
As the Commission's consultations are still under way it is not possible at this stage to indicate whether or not formal proposals will emerge. It is clear, however, that the process of identifying proposals which would be likely to be acceptable to members states is complex and difficult, not least because of the differing employee involvement traditions as between member states.
To date, Ireland has sought to facilitate the ongoing debate and in particular has expressed concern that the forcing of early conclusions on the Commission's ideas may simply polarise the positions of the member states and thus prevent the development of acceptable proposals.
My concern is that any proposals which emerge from the ongoing consultation process should take due account of employment concerns and the differing employment relations traditions as between member states. It is only on that basis that agreement is likely to emerge.
As regards the transposition into Irish Law of Council Directive 94/45 EC on the transnational information and consultation of employees in larger firms established in two or more member states, I can tell the Deputy that drafting work is now well advanced.