Legislation means that ignorance is not bliss

By Darryl Danielli, Thursday 12 April 2007

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Knowledge is power. Or at least thats the theory.

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PrintWeek editor Darryl Danielli

And with the gradual introduction of the EU’s Information and Consultation (I&C) Directive it’s becoming a reality for an increasing number of print workers.

As with any EU legislation, it’s being greeted with a certain amount of trepidation by employers and conversely, of course, unions regard it as a potential godsend for their members.

The reasons for the unions’ warm welcome are obvious – a more open relationship with employers and greater involvement for staff over the important decisions that could affect a business (or at least a basic awareness of them).

Employers’ key concern over it is equally obvious – namely having to share ‘commercial secrets’ with staff.

However, to my understanding, the directive only relates to issues that will directly affect a worker’s employment. And in that context the most common and damaging ‘secret’ would probably be that the company is in trouble.

And it’s here that the argument is flawed. After all, the staff are often the first to know if things aren’t going well. But what they don’t tend to know is what the management is doing about it or how they can help, and that’s clearly wrong.  

I’m sure that the bulk of you reading will be of the opinion that it doesn’t really affect you. After all, even taking into account last week’s lowering of the threshold, it still only applies to firms with more than 100 staff.

But it’s a phased introduction. So, from next April, the Directive will apply to companies with 50 employees, and then I should imagine a lot more in the industry will start taking notice.

So in 12 months’ time, for many of you, “ignorance is bliss” won’t cut much ice.


Darryl Danielli is editor of PrintWeek.

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