EU regulations on worker’s rights are too much of a burden on business
Are businesses burdened by large amounts of legislation coming from the EU or are they supported and strengthened by part of the "European Social model"? You decide
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European over regulation costs the United Kingdom at least 28 billion pounds per year, [[Gerald Batten "How much does the European Union cost Britain" UKIP 2009 p4 http://www.ukip.org/media/pdf/eucost08.pdf p4]] and the most costly of these unnecessary regulations is the Working Time Directive of 1999. Since it's inception the directive has costs UK business £16 billion and currently costs the country roughly £1.8 billion each year. [[Gerald Batten "How much does the European Union cost Britain" UKIP 2009 p4 http://www.ukip.org/media/pdf/eucost08.pdf p21]]That EU regulation and other regulations on workers rights are causing a strain on businesses that they don't need.
Most estimates of the cost of regulation are flawed as they don't include the benefits of EU regulations to the UK and should not be treated chapter and verse. It costs more both to businesses in lives and finance to a business if an industrial accident happens or employee is injured ,develops a disease and so on that could have been avoided through better regulation and better practice. [[ TUC "Conservative Regulation proposals http://www.tuc.org.uk/extras/redwoodproposals.pdf p3-4]]
Protected workers=Healthy workers= productive workers
Rights such as the working time directive improve productivity through improved physical and mental health for European workers. Currently 1in 4 people has a mental health condition in the UK and some conditions like depression and stress can cause workers to become at the least absent or the worst incapacited or a danger to others and themselves, hardly something that helps productivity.[[The Greens/Les Verts "Working time Directive European Parliament calls time on opt outs and excessive hours http://firstname.lastname@example.org Accessed 6.5.09 ]]
Also physical conditions like diabetes and heart disease can reduce the potency of workers as well as the time they can spend working (something given that a large amount of western European countries . So by protecting workers rights EU member states can increase the physical and mental well being of their workers and their potential effectiveness in the work place too. A win win situation no?
Currently the UK's productivity rate has fallen from 2.6 in 1997 to an average of 1.2 from between 2001- 2005 [[ United Kingdom independence Party Tunbridge Wells http://www.ukiptunbridgewells.co.uk/britain.asp Accessed 08.05.2009]] Admittedly this could be due to other factors coming into play but whether excessive regulation has reduced the opportunities for the UK and maybe other countries to be more competitive is something to be considered.
EU regulation slows growth and adds to inequality
Some statistics for all of you. Joblessness in Europe in 2006 was around double the rate in America and long term unemployment was six times the amount in the US. Also the income of the poorest 10% has grown in the Anglo Saxon economy of Ireland by eight times the rate of Sweden which has fallen from 4th to 14th in terms of being the world richest country. So far from helping businesses by creating more equal an environment the EU is producing an environment where the burden on businesses is producing more inequality.[[http://euobserver.com/9/21331]]
Bureaucracy and Red Tape
The more regulations there are the more red tape there is going to be due to increased complexity and increased restraint on freedom of movement. If businesses have to struggle with European legislation on top of national legislation then this will increase costs by small business firstly having to get more legal advice from lawyers or solicitors, something that is not cheap. This means that businesses will be discouraged from growing , hardly conducive to raising profits. [[ "MEP Slams "anti discrimination plan" http://www.ukip.org/content/latest-news/692-mep-slams-antidiscrimination-plan%5D%5D
All regulation should be fit for purpose and not unnecessarily complex however there is strong support for a right to paid holiday. Workplace regulation started in the Victorian Union as an attempt to combat deaths caused by problems at work so going back to an era with a lack of regulation could see an increase in work related illnesses and problems. Something that is not good to society as a whole [[TUC Redwood proposals http://www.tuc.org.uk/extras/redwoodproposals.pdf%5D%5D
Regulations provide a level playing field across the EU
The regulations covering workers rights provide a level playing field for all the member states covered in the single European market. UK businesses may not gain an advantage by abiding by those regulations but it doesn't gain a disadvantage either with regard to it's European members. Furthermore a single internal market also comes with a single labour market you can not merely just trade across boundaries without having equal protection for workers across those boundaries. Otherwise you get a race to the bottom where different countries would be cutting standards and regulations at the expensive of workers and ultimately UK businesses who would see the quality of the UK work force reduced [[ ETUC "The European Social Model" http://www.etuc.org/a/2771%5D%5D
For some countries their competition does not lie in the European Union instead it lies outside with developing countries such as China and India who's workforce are increasingly becoming more skilled but who also have a "less comfortable relationship with employment rights" [[ Jarriot Richard EU Green Paper on Labour Law
Response from the Confederation of West Midlands Chambers of Commerce Accessed 8.05.2009]]
. While states like the UK and Ireland do need legislation to provide an appropriate degree of protection to workers they should look to compete on a wider playing field than in the EU and not just within the service industries such as banking and finance.
EU regulations are there to combat discrimination by member states
Some of the directives imposed by the EU are designed to combat discrimination in the workplace such as the right to equal treatment for part time workers most of which are women. This allows single parents to combine childcare responsibilities with a productive working life. Also the right to take unpaid (something that shouldn't add extra salary headaches for businesses!) parental leave and time off for parenting matters is important as before it was introduced some employers had the power to sack parents for suddenly having to leave to care for a sick child. The TUC notes one galling case where a company sacked an man for being at the birth of his child. [[TUC Redwood Proposals http://www.tuc.org.uk/extras/redwoodproposals.pdf%5D%5D
Not all discrimination is a bad thing and over regulation of business could potentially lead to a situation where everybody will be equal when nobody has a job. Well not exactly but if states make the environment for businesses too restrictive then they will simply move elsewhere if they have the resources to do so and companies outside the UK will not be inspired to invest in the country. [[UKIP "Everybody will be equal when nobody has a job " http://www.ukip.org/content/latest-news/95-everybody-will-be-equal-when-nobody-has-a-job Accessed 8.05.2009]]. There are times where the need to provide employment has to over rule discrimination and this is one of them.
Some regulations improve employee retention
Some regulations such as ones underpinning flexi time arrangements actually help keep employees in the job by raising job satisfaction and keeping employees at a company. This reduces costs of training and recruitment of new employees.
Improved morale and retention for some employees isn't always the case for others. With the case of flexi time, single people might feel aggrieved about having to do extra hours to cover the time spent by parents working part time and not having the same rights parents do to work. That can translate to employees leaving a company.[[Amble Brian "EU proposals a bureaucratic nightmare" Management Issues, 2004 Accessed 8.04.2009 http://www.management-issues.com/2006/8/24/research/eu-proposals-a-bureaucratic-nightmare.asp%5D%5D
What do you think?