Quality legislation - which meets clear policy objectives, balances relevant interests, is well-drafted and coherent, and as simple, easy to understand and implement as possible - is essential for any well-functioning society and for a strong democracy. As trade unionists, workers and citizens we know the pivotal role that legislation plays in guaranteeing our rights and freedoms, including providing the opportunity for redress when they are infringed either by employers, enterprises or the State. At the European level, there is an impressive framework of legislation aimed at protecting people's rights as workers, consumers and citizens, in the context of an ever deepening internal market which far too often is put in conflict with their interests.
Working Time, Health and Safety at Work, Pregnant Workers, Part-Time Work, Fixed-Term Work, Information and Consultation, Temporary Agency Workers, Equal Treatment in Employment and Occupation – these are just a handful of the Directives that the European Union has adopted which make a real difference to people's working conditions on a daily basis. However, as defenders' of working people's rights, it is our duty to remain vigilant as we know from experience that the well-established rights and freedoms that many people now take for granted, can all too quickly be weakened or even lost altogether. Sometimes the threats are obvious but at others, what may at first seem to be innocuous or even positive proposals, can reveal themselves to be Trojan horses, capable of riding rough shod over our rights if we are not careful.