Plans to set up a raft of Europe-wide regulation for pay talks between employers and trade unions were condemned today by Conservative MEPs.

Employment spokesman Anthea McIntyre said approval by MEPs of a report on cross-border collective bargaining set a dangerous precedent.

She insisted: "Conservative MEPs voted against this because it is simply not an area where the EU should legitimately get involved.

"Sadly it was voted through with the enthusiastic support of MEPs from the British Labour Party, no doubt acting on the instructions of their trade-union paymasters."

The report, by German Far-Left MEP Thomas Händel, was approved by a majority of MEPs in Strasbourg yesterday afternoon (Thursday). It seeks to create a Europe-wide set of rules and regulations for negotiations on pay and conditions in companies that operate in more than one EU state.

Analysis of the voting received today shows that 11 Labour MEPs, including GMB-sponsored delegation leader Glenis Willmott, voted in favour of the report.

Miss McIntyre said: "There is not sufficient evidence to justify EU policy initiatives or action in this area. Instead we must respect the traditions of individual member states and allow companies the flexibility to tailor their agreements to the legislative and industrial frameworks in which they operate.

"Worryingly, the report also demands a greater role for trade unions in shaping EU policy. We absolutely object to any further interference between the trade unions and elected policy makers, but Labour MEPs continue to dance to the trade-union tune."