18. EXTENSION OF THE PART-TIME WORK
Letter from Ian McCartney MP, Minister
of State, Department of Trade and Industry, to Lord Wallace of
Saltaire, Chairman of Sub-Committee F (Social Affairs, Education
and Home Affairs)
I understand that your Committee has considered
the draft Directive on the extension of the Part-time Work Directive
97/81/EC on the basis of the Explanatory Memorandum submitted
on 17 March, and would like further information on the legal base
of the Part-time Work Directive.
I should emphasise that both the draft Directive
to extend the Part-time Work Directive to the UK and the Part-time
Work Directive itself are means by which we may implement the
Framework Agreement on Part-time Work negotiated and concluded
by the European social partners (the employer bodies, UNICE and
CEEP, and the employee representatives, the ETUC) in June last
year. The Framework Agreement explicitly provides for, among other
things, the removal of discrimination against part-time workers
in respect of employment conditions, and all member states agreed
to implement it without interfering or changing it in any way.
The point raised in paragraph 12 of the EM is
a legal one, relating to the method by which agreements concluded
by the social partners at Community level are to be implemented.
Under Article 4(2) of the Agreement on Social Policy, this can
be done for "matters covered by Article 2, at the joint request
of the signatory parties, by a Council decision on a proposal
by a Commission" (relevant extract of the Agreement on Social
Policy, Protocol No. 14 attached). At the social partners' request,
the Commission brought forward a proposal under Article 4(2) and
the Part-time Work Directive was adopted by the other 14 member
states on 15 December 1997. We recognise the intention of the
social partners to cover discrimination in all aspects of working
conditions, including pay. However, the Government notes that
Article 2(6) of the Agreement on Social Policy states that the
provisions of Article 2 "shall not apply to pay". We
agree in principle that part-timers should not be paid less than
comparable full-time workers pro rata, and will need to consider
how best to give this effect in national legislation along with
the other provisions of the framework agreement. As stated in
the EM, implementation of the Part-time Work Directive may involve
either, or both, primary legislation or regulations under the
European Communities Act 1972. The Government will have two years
for implementation from the date of adoption of the Directive's
extension to the UK, on which we intend to consult widely.
The proposal does not raise any new issues since
the Part-time Work Directive proposal was debated in December.
I hope that this further information is helpful.
30 March 1998
Letter from Lord Tordoff, Chairman of
the Committee, to Ian McCartney MP, Minister of State, Department
of Trade and Industry
Thank you for your letter of 30 March to Lord
Wallace of Saltaire clarifying the position as regards the legal
base of the Part-Time Work Directive.
The Sub-Committee notes that it appears to be
the intention of the social partners to cover discrimination in
all aspects of working conditions including pay. The Sub-Committee
agrees with the Government that it would appear to be outside
the scope of the Agreement on Social Policy to implement under
Article 2 an agreement which has been concluded between the social
partners at Community level and which relates to pay.
The Sub-Committee concludes from your analysis
of the legal base and your reference to "implementation"
of the Directive by "either, or both, primary legislation
or regulations under the European Communities Act 1972" that
if the Government were to apply the agreement in the United Kingdom
to discrimination relating to pay, primary legislation would be
This letter clears the Document from scrutiny.
1 April 1998