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BEERG Newsletter - EU: Parliament builds information and consultation into AI Act

The EU Parliament wants employees’ representatives to be informed and consulted before AI can be introduced into the workplace.

Last week the Justice Committee (LIBE) of the European Parliament agreed its position on the proposed Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act which, when finally enacted, will set the governance framework for the use of AI in the EU. Once adopted by the Parliament in plenary, the text will be the mandate for the Parliament’s negotiators in discussions with the Council of Ministers and the Commission as they seek to hammer out an agreed position on the proposed legislation. You can read a brief summary of what was agreed at this Twitter thread by Alex Voss, the German Christian Democrat MEP who worked on the issue. You can also read a summary by our colleague Oliver Patel who posted about the Parliament’s conclusion on LinkedIn.

What will be of most interest to readers of this newsletter is the inclusion by the Parliament of information and consultation obligations into the text.  On Page 64 it says:

In line with Article 114(2) TFEU, this Regulation complements and should not undermine the rights and interests of employed persons. This Regulation should therefore not affect Community law on social policy and national labour law and practice, that is any legal and contractual provision concerning employment conditions, working conditions, including health and safety at work and the relationship between employers and workers, including information, consultation and participation. This Regulation should not affect the exercise of fundamental rights as recognized in the Member States and at Union level, including the right or freedom to strike or to take other action covered by the specific industrial relations systems in Member States, in accordance with national law and/or practice. Nor should it affect concertation practices, the right to negotiate, to conclude and enforce collective agreement or to take collective action in accordance with national law and/or practice. It should in any case not prevent the Commission from proposing specific legislation on the rights and freedoms of 

This is given concrete expression in Article 29.5a which reads:

Prior to putting into service or use a high-risk AI system at the workplace, deployers shall consult workers representatives with a view to reaching an agreement and inform the affected employees that they will be subject to the system.

While there are significant differences between the Commission, Council, and the Parliament on the granular details of the proposed Directive, it is unlikely that there will be any differences on the need for employee information and consultation around AI implementation. 

It will probably be towards the end of this year before the Directive is finalised. This will be followed by a transposition period as the Directive is written into national law. So, it will be 2026 at the earliest before it comes into force.  

As noted in our opening article UK: Government announces employment law changes there are now seven major pieces of new EU legislation either already adopted or in the pipeline which will impose new information and consultation obligations on employers. We refer to this as the “third wave” of information and consultation laws, following the first wave in the 1970s and the second wave in the late 1980s/early 1990s. We are currently working on a guide to these new laws which we will circulate to member companies in the coming months and which we will update as the laws still under discussion are finalised. 

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Authors: Tom Hayes

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