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
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 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
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