Greens Support a Shorter Working Week
Printed in Nottingham Evening Post, Feb 2004

It is good news that the European Parliament has voted to end the British opt-out from the EU Working Time Directive and has called on the Commission to produce clear proposals for bringing the UK into line with the rest of Europe. The Working Time Directive gives workers a maximum 48 hour working week, with four weeks minimum annual holiday, as well as breaks during working hours and the right to daily rest periods of 11 hours.

Why should British employees have to work the longest hours in Europe? It is wrong that some employers can in effect offer job applicants a choice between "voluntary" overtime and no job. This is not only an issue of ensuring a proper work-life balance, but also a health and safety issue. Tired workers, whether doctors, drivers or machine operators, are less safe.

Brian Fewster, Sue Blount
East Midlands Green Party European Election Lead Candidates

Nottingham Evening Post news item, Feb 20 2004

The East Midlands Green Party has welcomed an EU vote to end Britain's long-hours culture.

Last week, the European Parliament rejected the UK's opt-out of the Working Time Directive. The directive gives workers the right to daily rest periods of 11 hours, breaks during normal working hours, a maximum 48-hour working week and four weeks annual holiday.

This has been criticised by some small companies, saying it would lead to increased costs. But Green Party Euro candidate Brian Fewster welcomed the move as a way to stop exploitation.

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