UK stands firm on working time opt-out
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Issued Date: 02 Apr 2009
Brussels talks on the EU Working Time Directive broke up in
the early hours of this morning without agreement, with the UK
successfully resisting pressure to accept the removal of the right to
opt-out of the maximum 48-hours week.
A meeting of the EU's Conciliation Committee was unable to
resolve differences between the European Parliament and member states
over whether to retain the opt-out or not.
The UK and other countries held firm against a European
Parliament amendment to the Working Time Directive that would have
phased out the opt-out in three years.
Employment Relations Minister Pat McFadden said:
"We have said consistently that we would not give up the
opt-out and that continues to be the case.
"We argued that everyone has the right to basic protections
surrounding the hours that they work, but also the right to choose
"Choice over working hours has operated successfully in the UK
and in other Member States for many years.
"In the current downturn it is more important than ever that
people keep the right to put more money in their pockets by working
longer hours if they wish. We refused to be pushed into a bad deal for
Talks will now be reconvened for later this month, although it
will clearly be a challenge to bridge the gap between Member States and
the European Parliament.
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© Crown Copyright.
from the BERR-
Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform replacing DTI
- Department for Trade and Industry. Reproduced under the terms and
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2009-04-02 10:29:36 in Employee Articles