TUC: Change to 48-hour week welcome

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The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has welcomed the European Parliament’s vote to remove the opt-out from the 48-hour limit on the UK working week.

Brendan Barber, TUC general secretary, said the decision will allow workers to see more of their families and described it as "early Christmas present".

He added: "Britain’s workers will still be working hard to get the British economy back on its feet, but they will now be protected from the stress, heart disease and accidents that result from persistent long hours."

Mr Barber also said that no-one should be forced to work more than 48 hours each week in order to meet expenses and called for efforts to be made to fight low wages to further improve employees’ lives.

However, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development claimed to be disappointed with the European Parliament’s vote, pointing out that the previous rule allowed businesses to take a more flexible approach.

The organisation also said better people management and organisational changes should be the preferred ways to improve staff’s work/life balance.

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2 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. I think a lot of people need to go to Spain to see how EC commands are obeyed there. I have friends who live there who work 50+ hors a week on a regular basis and they are not the only ones. If the Spanish do not like something they ignore it, just like they ignore the smoking ban.
    I have been told most of Europe mainland are as bad.
    C B

  2. I agree with Brendan Barber – and am puzzled by the CIPD’s views on this. The revised Directive extends the accounting period for averaging the working week to 52 (from 17) and who can reasonably be opposed to that? The CIPD is forever advocating work-life balance, but seems to oppose the one piece of legislation which empowers low paid workrs with the ability to have this. After all, it does not stop anyone working 70 or 80 hours over a busy period as long as it is averaged back down to under 48 hours over a whole year. I challenge any HR professional worth their salt to say it is not possible to do in order to ensure a healthy (and productive) workforce. Nearly all of us are all employees at the end of the day ourselves and I for one welcome this protection.

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