As one of a series of DTI-promoted regional round-table discussions on the issues facing the UK in implementing the EU Directive on informing and consulting employees about key business developments, Warwick Business School's Industrial Relations Research Unit (IRRU) hosted the West Midlands round-table on 22 November at the University of Warwick. IRRU is the only academic institution to be asked to host these discussions.
Organisations such as Acas, the CBI, the TUC, and the Engineering Employers' Federation hosted similar events in other regions. Baroness Symons, Minister of State at the DTI and Deputy Leader of the House of Lords, took part in the meeting. It was chaired by Professor Paul Marginson, Director of IRRU. Other participants included leading employers, employee representatives, trade union officials, employment lawyers, and academics from the West Midlands, with 20 participants involved in total.
Baroness Symons said, "The EU information and consultation Directive is an important landmark in employment relations in this country. The government is keen to hear different perspectives from a range of stakeholders on the issues raised by the Directive and to learn from the practical experience of people who are currently involved in information and consultation arrangements. Round-tables, like this one at the University of Warwick, are an excellent opportunity to do so."
The round-table focused on key questions posed by a DTI discussion paper, High performance workplaces: the role of employee involvement in a modern economy. The government's intention is to take account of responses to the discussion paper and the views expressed in the round-table meetings when it prepares a consultation document and draft legislation to implement the Directive, to be published during 2003. The event was organised by Mark Hall, Principal Research Fellow within IRRU and co-author of a report published earlier this year which assesses the impact of the Directive.
Mark said, "IRRU is delighted to have been asked to host such a high profile event. The Directive has particularly significant implications for employee relations in the UK and we welcome the opportunity to help shape the government's approach to its implementation."