‘Extremely foolish’ to end UK’s opt-out of European Working Time Directive

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The European Union’s Council of Ministers are currently in discussions about whether the UK should be allowed to opt-out of the European Working Time Directive.

Under the directive, employees in the UK would not be allowed to work more than 48 hours, but there has been much opposition to the idea.

David Frost, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce said that the UK needed to retain its opt-out clause in order to survive the recession.

Commenting on the issue, Mr Frost said: "It would be extremely foolish to try and end the UK’s opt-out, especially during a painful recession. The opt-out provides the essential flexibility that many businesses and their employees are relying on to get through this downturn."

Meanwhile, Conny Reuter, secretary general of equality organisation Solidar said that the Working Time Directive should not become a barrier to "protecting quality jobs, creating more and better jobs and guaranteeing social rights at work".

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  1. I think it is ‘extremely foolish’ of Mr Frost to be so shortsighted as to suggest that ending the opt-out should not be done during a recession. It is an excuse for employers to use bully tactics to make workers work excessive overtime Work or lose your job is one attitude, even though it is illegal to do so but many workers do not appreciate that and will work just to keep their job. The amount of stress that is heaped on those working excessive hours can ruin their lives, not just mentally but also physically and in family life.

    Doesn’t Mr Frost realise that by adopting the working time directive we not only have the potential for increasing workers health but also a golden opportunity to create jobs that will help fuel recovery. I suspect that he would think in the short term that job creation would be another cost to be added to company budgets, maybe so, but in the long term the company would be in a better position to adapt to the growing marketplace than those who have pared down to the minimum.

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