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Improvements to the law safeguarding employees' rights when the ...
Improvements to the law safeguarding employees' rights when the

business in which they work is transferred between employers could

result from proposals set out in a consultation document issued by Ian McCartney, DTI minister of state.

The consultation document seeks views on the European Commission's

proposals to amend the 1977 Acquired Rights Directive, which is

implemented in the UK by the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of

Employment) Regulations 1981 - commonly knows as the TUPE

Regulations. In cases where the legislation applies, transferred

employees are entitled to retain their existing terms and conditions,

are given special protection against unfair dismissal in connection

with the transfer and must be informed and consulted through


Ian McCartney said:

'This legislation is an important aspect of employment protection.

Improvements could promote competitiveness and employment flexibility

by promoting a co-operative partnership approach to business


'The legislation is not working as well as it might do, though, and

it is widely accepted that the Directive could be improved. Our

Presidency of the European Union Council gives us the opportunity to

drive forward negotiations on the European Commission's proposals in

this area.

'This consultation will give the business community, employees and

other interested parties a chance to comment on the approach that we

intend taking toward the proposals, so that we can take their views

into account in negotiations with our European partners.'


1. The 1977 Acquired Rights Directive, as implemented in the UK

by the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment)

Regulations 1981 (TUPE), safeguards employees' rights in the event of

the transfer of a business or part of a business between employers.

The legislation provides for the automatic transfer of employees'

terms and conditions; makes dismissal in connection with a transfer

automatically unfair unless it is for an 'economic, technical or

organisational' reason; and gives employees' representatives certain

rights to information and consultation about the implications of the

transfer for the workforce.

2. The Directive was agreed under Article 100 of the Treaty of

Rome. Changes to it can be made only by unanimous agreement between

member states.

Copies of the consultation document can be obtained free of charge

from Mrs Pat Wright, Department of Trade and Industry, Employment

Relations Directorate (ER2b) 1.E.7, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H

0ET. Copies can also be requested by telephoning 0171-215-5985 (24


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