From Review to Recast: Contesting the Revision of the Directive
Under the heading ‘review by the Commission’, Article 15 of the Directive states that ‘not later than 22 September 1999, the Commission shall, in consultation with the Member States and with management and labour at European level, review its [the Directive’s] operation and, in particular examine whether the workforce size thresholds are appropriate with a view to proposing suitable amendments to the Council, where necessary’. Specifi c reference to the ‘workforce size thresholds’ refl ected concerns within the Commission questioning whether the thresholds of at least 1,000 employees and 150 employees in each of two Member States were appropriate. Previous drafts of the Directive, for example, had referred to a threshold of 100 employees in each of two Member States (see Chapter 1). The commitment of the Commission to review the Directive within fi ve years of its adoption mitigated some of the concerns expressed within trade union organisations regarding the limitations of the Directive. In practice, trade unionists took the view that such limitations should be addressed in the review process scheduled for completion before 22 September 1999. Only on 5 June 2009, however, did a new Directive (2009/38/EC, henceforth referred to as the recast Directive) come into force, the document having been adopted by the Council on 23 April 2009 and signed by the European Parliament on 16 May 2009. This chapter charts the review process set in train by Article 15.