Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council: arrivals (Employment)
End production: 09/06/2008 First transmission: 09/06/2008
A meeting of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) was held in Luxembourg on 9 and 10 June 2008.
The Employment Council met on 9 June to discuss two longstanding directives: Working Time and Temporary Agency Workers. For the Working Time Directive, the main stumbling block had been the opt-out from a 48-hour weekly maximum. The directive had been on ice since November 2006 and many Member States were in breach of the legislation as interpreted by the European Court of Justice, which says that on-call time have to be counted as working time. On the Directive on Working Conditions for Temporary Agency Workers, the Slovenian Presidency put forward a compromise proposal that would recognise the equal treatment of agency workers with permanent employees from day one. However, it would permit the possibility to opt out through collective agreements and through agreements between bosses and unions.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Arrival of Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Lithuanian Minister for Social Security and Labour
||Arrival of Marjeta Cotman, Slovenian Minister for Labour, Family and Social Affairs and President in office of the Council
||Arrival of Vladimír Špidla, Member of the EC in charge of Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities
||Pat McFadden, British Minister of State for Employment Relations and Postal Policy at the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, (in ENGLISH) saying that the opt-out certainly benefits workers; it is worth many billions of pounds in wages and salaries to workers in the United Kingdom, and he is sure this is true in another countries too; choice for workers over this is a good thing; flexibility is important to high employment and as a liberal government they believe in high employment and they have achieved high employment
||Vladimír Špidla (in FRENCH) saying that they are very close to a solution, there's no doubt; the Slovenian Presidency has done a very good job; if they reach an agreement, this is going to be a real progress for workers and for Social Europe; of course, they must be pragmatic because it is always a very delicate matter and they have to work hard; but he hopes they will find an agreement
||Arrival of the Spanish representative
||Marjeta Cotman (in SLOVENIAN) saying that she is well known for fighting for the rights of workers and she is actually advocating the same as the Presidency Minister; nothing will be adopted that could harm the position of the workers; in the Directive as it is now, they have 78 hours and the new one proposes 60 to 65 hours under certain conditions, which is certainly better than the present