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PR(03)21: Labour law: Reasoned opinions delivered to Iceland concerning non-implementation of the Fixed-term work and Part-time work Directives


The EFTA Surveillance Authority delivered today a reasoned opinion to Iceland due to that State’s failure to take the necessary measures to implement the Fixed-term Work Directive (1999/70/EC). The Authority has already sent a reasoned opinion to Iceland on 5 February 2003 for non-implementation of the Part-time Work Directive (97/81/EEC).

Both Directives at issue put into effect framework agreements concluded by the social partners at European level laying down the general principles and minimum requirements for fixed-term and part-time employment contracts and relationships. The agreements have been signed by the general cross-industry organisations, namely the Union of Industrial and Employers’ Confederation of Europe (UNICE), the European Centre of Enterprises with Public Participation (CEEP) and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC).

The main purpose of the agreement on fixed-term work, as implemented by Directive 1999/70/EC, is to improve the quality of such work. This shall be achieved by ensuring the application of the principle of non-discrimination and by establishing a framework to prevent abuse arising from the use of successive fixed-term employment contracts or relationships.

Similarly, the agreement on part-time work, as put into effect by Directive 97/81/EC, aims at the removal of discrimination against part-time workers and at improving the quality of part-time work. Moreover, the development of part-time work on a voluntary basis shall be facilitated and the flexible organisation of working time shall be promoted in a manner that takes into account the needs of employers and workers.

The purpose of a reasoned opinion is to give the State in question a last chance to take corrective measures before the Authority decides whether to bring the matter before the EFTA Court. Iceland has been given three months to take the measures necessary to comply with the reasoned opinion of July 2003 and two months to comply with that of February 2003.

For further information please contact Mr. Tor Arne Solberg-Johansen, Press and Information officer, telephone (+32)(0)2 286 18 66.

22 July 2003

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