Select Committee on European Union Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by Ladybrook Nursery

  1.  Thank you for the invitation to submit evidence to Sub-Committee F on the Social Policy aspects of the Convention of the Future of Europe.


  2.  We are believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, belonging to a worldwide fellowship known to the Government as Brethren which includes citizens in Denmark, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Sweden as well as Britain. The Lord's Supper (Holy Communion) is the centre of our way of life and we pray regularly both privately and collectively for Government.

  3.  We fully recognise the necessity of an employment policy which promotes full employment and the protection of employees from exploitation by unscrupulous employers. Health and Safety Measures too, are necessary to provide a safe and pleasant environment for the work force in their places of employment. This is achieved by our businesses being governed by the principles set out in Holy Scripture.

  4.  Our businesses are generally small and the relationship we enjoy with each employee is personal and direct. We do not belong to any business or trade association as this, for us, would involve compromise of an unequal yoke (2 Corinthians 6 v14) neither do we recognise the legitimacy of trade unions and therefore are unable to negotiate with employee representatives. (See Social Chapter and Conscientious Objections, 12 June 1997, employ/relig-cpb. Business and Transport Section Research Division, House of Commons Library).

  5.  Our reservations as to the Social Policy aspect of the Convention go back to the Social Chapter of the Maastricht Treaty. We were glad of the initial exclusion of the UK and were therefore disappointed when this opt out was later rescinded.

6.   Comments on the Final Report of Working Group XI on Social Europe CONV 516/03 Paragraph 24

  We have very strong objections to the Promotion of the Non-discrimination Provision included in the Amsterdam Treaty (Article 13). Our concerns have been well documented and have been the subject of a previous submission to this Committee on the 27 March 2000.

7.   Paragraph 24

  Article 137(1) (e) and (f); we consider these to interfere with the direct relationship of an employee and employer, which are basic to Christian employment principles (Ephesians 6 v5-9).

8.   Paragraph 27

  We fully support that the primary responsibility for social matters should remain within the Member States. It would be unthinkable that the German Model of Industrial Relations should be imposed on the UK business environment.

9.   Paragraph 35

  As indicated earlier we have a conscientious objection to some of the existing competences therefore would not wish them to be extended, especially those that are subject to QMV (Qualified Majority Voting) as we feel that unanimity offers more protection to Member States.

10.   Paragraph 69

  We do not agree with the role of the Social Partners as defined in the Social Policy agreement, Article 2(4) and Article 4 because this conflicts with our Christian commitment to direct employer/employee relationships. In any case they do not reflect current labour relations in the UK.

11.   Conclusion

  We urge the Government to have respect for Christian tradition in the UK and do everything to limit the extension of the Social Policy, especially into areas of small businesses. Otherwise, employment opportunities in our businesses are going to recede to the detriment of thousands of workers!

Bob Anderson, Charles Arnett, Keith Birch, Bruce Anzell

5 March 2003

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