Teaching citizenship: Work and the economy
Teaching citizenship: Work and the economy

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Teaching citizenship: Work and the economy

6.2.4 Europe

Finally, an area that is subject to much dispute and political discussion is the whole issue of working conditions and the role of the EU. As already mentioned, the background to this is the question of the European Social Chapter. The UK has opted out of this EU initiative, which has to do with establishing common rights and conditions for working environments across the EU member states. A controversial aspect of this concerns the EU's European Works Councils Directive (see www.dti.gov.uk/employment/employment-legislation/employment-directives/index.html). Works Councils institutionalise consultation with employees with respect to company activity and business practice, and they have been fiercely resisted by UK companies and their organisations (like the CBI and IoD). This involves issues of ‘economic democracy’ as raised in the reading associated with Activity 2 earlier.

Finally, the EU has a wider importance for employment issues in the UK, information of which can be accessed at http://europa.eu.int/index_en.htm

Activity 5

This section presents a number of opportunities for classroom group work. One suggestion would be to analyse the different positions the organisations discussed in the main narrative text adopt on the issue of further worker rights, say around economic democracy and the role of Works Councils. This will then serve to bring the important European dimension into the debate about domestic UK employment citizenship.


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