The European Social Model

The European Social Model

Modernisation or Evolution?

Nick Adnett and Stephen Hardy

This timely book explores the development of the European Social Model and questions whether the relatively high level of social protection provided, both in terms of social welfare provision and in the creation of workers’ rights and employment regulation, is sustainable.

Chapter 7: Restructuring Enterprises in Europe

Nick Adnett and Stephen Hardy

Subjects: economics and finance, labour economics, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, economics of social policy, labour policy


7.1 INTRODUCTION We have argued previously that a range of factors, both internal and external to the Union, have increased the degree of competition in product and service markets in recent years. In combination with technological and organisational change and long-term structural changes these factors have increased the speed of business restructuring in Europe. More flexible employment has thus become less secure employment for many European workers as the threat of redundancy and business transfer increases. It was worker rights in these areas that formed the initial phase of EU social policy legislation. In this chapter we trace their legislative birth and explore the continuing policy dilemma of competing economic and social rights at work, focusing on the Collective Redundancies (CRD) and Acquired Rights (ARD) Directives. In drawing conclusions, this chapter will directly address the implications of our analysis for the modernisation of Social Europe. This chapter commences with a discussion of the legal framework covering redundancies and business transfers in Europe which developed from the 1974 Social Action Programme. The adoption of this Social Action Programme reflected the acceptance by Member States that stimulating economic growth through closer European integration required the support of European social policy. This chapter considers what can be learned from over three decades of experience of case law under these Directives. In section 7.2.1 we address redundancy situations, outlining the 1975 Collective Redundancies Directive and its later amendment. The following section, 7.2.2, considers business transfers and the 1977 Acquired Rights Directive that sought to...

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