June 3, 2005


UK rejects 48-hour working limit (JAMES KIRKUP, 6/03/05, The Scotsman)

THE government yesterday flatly opposed a European Union attempt to impose a maximum 48-hour working week on British workers.

The defence of the British opt-out from the working time directive drew praise from industry groups and condemnation from trade unions.

Alan Johnson, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, had been forced to defend the opt-out amid opposition by his own Labour colleagues.

Last month, Labour MEPs defied instructions from the party in London and voted to impose the 48-hour cap on British workers.

At a Luxembourg summit yesterday, Mr Johnson mounted a strong defence of the current arrangement, pointing out that Britain's flexible labour laws have delivered an unemployment rate much lower than that in other European economies.

"We strongly support the freedom for companies to have the flexibility to offer additional hours where necessary, and for workers to have the freedom to choose to work longer hours, without coercion, where it suits them to do so," Mr Johnson said.

Tony Blair is neither Labor nor European.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 3, 2005 12:00 AM
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