Companies that consider major restructuring measures should have to abide by a set of European minimum standards, say members of the European Parliament in a non-legislative resolution adopted on 15 January. The text urges the European Commission to present "as soon as possible" a proposal for a legal act on information and consultation of workers and anticipation and management of restructuring. "Europe has never had a strategy to cope with a problem that goes beyond borders. It is time to move into action. Anticipation, training of workers, a European financing system and social dialogue involving all the players concerned are critical to enable companies to meet the challenge of globalisation, the crisis and technological changes," commented rapporteur Alejandro Cercas (S&D, Spain). According to the European restructuring monitor, there have been more than 5,400 cases of large-scale restructuring in the EU27 since 2008.
Based on Article 225 TFEU, MEPs call for a European framework applying to major restructurings of enterprises and groups of enterprises (private and public) that affect a large number of workers or a large percentage of personnel over a limited period of time.
They define this framework by means of 14 recommendations. MEPs note that companies should have to continually develop the skills and competences of their workers to increase their employability and their internal and external mobility. There must also be real dialogue between the company and its workers: employees should be kept informed at all times of the company's situation and any restructuring plans should be accompanied by an explanation and justification before a decision is taken. The recommendation also states that redundancies should be used only as a last resort after reviewing alternatives (phase-in of planned measures; reduction of work intensity; reduction or reorganisation of working time; renegotiation of working conditions; internal or external redeployment; in-sourcing of external activities; negotiated departures; and natural departures). MEPs ask the Commission to study whether there is a need to take steps at European level to supervise the activities of companies in order to prevent abuse of any kind with harmful effects, particularly on workers. They propose to exclude companies that do not comply with EU legislation from the benefit of public aid from national budgets for a period of five years following a judicial...