My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected immediately. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Thursday, 23 October 2008


During this week in Strasbourg we debated measures to clarify the status and rights of temporary workers in the EU, which covers paid leave and rights for pregnant women, amongst other things.

We also discussed steps that will clarify which court has jurisdiction when people of different nationalities divorce.

The number of temporary workers is on the increase, but national legislation differs across the EU. A new directive, which received its final vote in favour yesterday, includes guarantees from "day 1" for temporary workers, covering areas like resting times, paid leave and non-discrimination towards pregnant women. French Socialist Harlem Désir, the rapporteur on the proposals to regulate the status and conditions of temporary workers, welcomed the positive vote by saying:

"Adopting this directive will send a signal that Europe's social heart is still beating.."

I couldn't agree more. The Temporary Agency Workers Directive has taken a long time to get through the arcane processes of the European Union, but it will now pass into law in all Member States. It will of special benefit to women and those who may find it more difficult to get permanent jobs. It's a good piece of legislation which Labour MEPs supported all the way through.

A report written by German Socialist Evelyne Gebhardt to set out Europe-wide guidelines making it clearer which country's courts have jurisdiction when couples of different nationalities divorce was voted on Tuesday. The report could help clarify who would get custody of children and property following the 170,000 plus divorces a year across Europe.

Jacques Barrot, Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security was keen to get as many member states as possible on board for this significant report.

The voting on Monday demonstrated he had achieved this, at least as far as most of the European Parliament was concerned. There were 522 votes in favour, 89 against and 35 abstentions.

Sadly 19 of the 89 who voted against were British Tories: Ashworth, Bradbourn, Bushill-Mathews, Callanan, Chichester, Deva, Dover, Elles, Jonathan Evans, Harbour, Heaton-Harris, Kamall, Nicholson (Ulster Unionist), Parish, Stevenson, Sturdy, Sumberg, Tannock and Van Orden.

It is quite incredible how often the Tories are out on a limb and unable to support even the most helpful reports which come before the European Parliament. They are still basically a bunch of head-bangers. Don't let anyone try and convince you otherwise.

No comments: