Forgotten News:
Social and Employment Legislation –  The Conservatives’ battle


One of the latest Europe-bashing endeavours of theConservative party, which hasn’t really made the news, is the allegation thatBritain has too much social and employment legislation. As a result the party would like a British opt-out of Articles 151-161 of the Treaty of theFunctioning of the European Union (TFEU). These articles specify in which areas of social and employment policy the EU is allowed to take action and dictates how decisions should be made. Opting out of these articles would allow Britain to make its own legislation on social policy. This is just one of the many ways in which the Tories are driving our country slowly but surely out of Europe. 

Repatriating social policy is a disastrous idea presentedentirely at the wrong time. 

There is little evidence of employers ever complaining aboutthe EU directives but more how these are implemented by national governments. Repatriating powers will not change this. If anything this situation will onlybe made worse as it’s our government that employers are agitated by, not Europe. 

A British opt-out from these articles would require agreement from all 27 member states. With a lot of members in economic turmoil,there are definitely bigger issues to concentrate on. 

The European Commission no longer legislates in this areaand no new initiatives are planned. It seems bizarre that the Conservatives should choose now to bring up this proposed change. Even when the Commissiondoes get involved it only enforces “soft measures” such as improving workers’conditions. So shifts are being made in the UK’s favour – it would be crazy to mess with the system now.

A study by OpenEurope supports the notion that the Tories should tackle this issue now, concluding that social policy accounts for 25% ofthe total cost of regulation in the UK. Their story goes that if Britain made its own legislation on social policy then a huge sum of money would be saved.It is another chapter of the same old tale that “Europe costs us too muchmoney”.  But no explanation of how these costs were calculated has ever been put forward. These figures are as scientific as a seven year old’s science book.   

Laura Owen  28.12.2012


Generation Recession: Free Labour for All Internity


Since the recession began, there has been an explosion in the popularity of unpaid internships. A company will take on a graduate for a number of months, getting them to do all the toilet scrubbing jobs that they can’t afford to actually pay someone to do. In return said graduate gains a variable amount of work experience in the field they are actually interested inbeing employed in. Graduates are often lured in by the prospect of bolstering their CVs, whilst often receiving ambiguous hints from the company that they might be offered a permanent position... perhaps. It’s essentially the same thing as making a donkey walk by dangling a carrot in front of its nose.

practice (the internship thing, not the donkey thing) is not only illegal1 but, moreover, there usually just isn’t a job at the end of the process. Instead, the company will employ another intern to replace you. They call this a “rolling internship” and it seems to be the done thing nowadays in the UK.

The main issue is that the government are highly unlikely to 
change things, mainly because this practice is probably the only way that many small businesses and start-ups are staying afloat at the moment. Economists might say that this is a “good thing”, but how is unemployment ever going to get any better when paid positions are substituted for unpaid ones? Young workers are being exploited and something needs to be done.


Nick Chowdrey   28.02.12

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