9. PROTECTION OF EMPLOYEES IN THE EVENT
OF THE INSOLVENCY OF THEIR EMPLOYER
Commission Opinion on the European Parliament's amendments to the Council's common position regarding the proposal for a Directive amending Council Directive 80/987/EEC on the approximation of the laws of Member States relating to the protection of employees in the event of the insolvency of their employer.
|Legal base:||Article 137(2) EC; co-decision; qualified majority voting
|Document originated:||23 May 2002
|Deposited in Parliament:||28 May 2002
|Department:||Trade and Industry
|Basis of consideration:||Minister's letter of 11 June and EM of 13 June 2002
|Previous Committee Report:||None; but see (22094) 5547/01: HC 152-vii (2001-02), paragraph 16 ( 21 November 2001).
|To be discussed in Council:||27 June 2002
|Committee's assessment:||Politically important
9.1 This draft Directive is intended to update, rationalise
and simplify the provisions of the original Insolvency Protection
Directive (80/987/EEC). We cleared an earlier version of the document
last November, but, as the Minister for Employment Relations and
the Regions (Mr Alan Johnson) had expressed some concern about
possible European Parliament amendments, we reminded him that
we expected any significantly different text to be deposited with
an Explanatory Memorandum.
9.2 The Minister wrote on 11 June to update us on the
situation. He explains that negotiations proceeded well and the
UK was able to give its full support to a common position text
agreed between the Member States at the end of 2001. At its second
reading, the European Parliament adopted six amendments. None
presented the UK with any problems.
9.3 The Minister provided us with copies of the common
position text and the European Parliament's amendments for information,
and promised to forward the Commission's opinion on the amendments
as soon as it was available in English, together with an Explanatory
The Commission's opinion
9.4 In the event, we received the Commission's opinion
and the Explanatory Memorandum so quickly that they virtually
superseded the Minister's letter. The Commission accepts all the
amendments in full.
The Government's view
9.5 The Minister tells us that the adopted amendments
extend and improve the common position text. The UK will be able
to accommodate the amending Directive with only minimal change
to its existing provisions. There will be no substantive increase
in the minimum standards of employee protection currently guaranteed
by the UK.
9.6 The Minister reports that the Presidency hopes that
the Directive will be adopted as an "A" point at the
Agriculture Council on 27 June. Member States will then have three
years in which to implement the measure.
9.7 We understand that, by the time the common position
text was published, matters had moved on so far that it was deemed
to have been superseded. Given that the Minister has given us
a detailed update on the situation, and has deposited the Commission
opinion in time for us to consider it before the Council, we are
content with the situation on this occasion. We ask, however,
that in future he provide an Explanatory Memorandum when a common
position has been agreed, even if an official text is not available.
9.8 It is good to learn that negotiations have been
concluded satisfactorily. We clear the document.