Euro MPs vote to end UK working opt-out
CONSERVATIVE Euro MPs have the European Parliament's 421-273 vote to scrap the British opt-out from the 48-hour maximum working week, which was passed with support of Labour members in defiance of Gordon Brown.
CONSERVATIVE Euro MPs have condemned the European Parliament's 421-273 vote to scrap the British opt-out from the 48-hour maximum working week, which was passed with support of Labour members in defiance of Gordon Brown.
Immediately after the vote, Conservatives called on the British government to 'dig in' to ensure the Council of Ministers does not back down on its position of supporting the opt-out. As the European Parliament and Council of Ministers have differing opinions, they will now enter a period of 'conciliation' in an attempt to reach a compromise.
Geoffrey Van Orden. Conservative Euro MP for the East of England, said: “The Left-wing MEPs in the European Parliament have completely misunderstood the needs of our businesses and our workers in today's economic difficulties. I am particularly concerned for businesses and families in the East of England, who are already feeling the effects of the economic crisis.
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“To stay afloat in difficult times and to continue to compete, businesses need flexibility, not more unnecessary regulation. And the family wage-earners need the opportunity to put in extra time to make ends meet and to decide for themselves how they want to work.
“Conservatives did everything they could to keep the opt-out but the Leftist domination of the Parliament meant that our efforts were in vain. The British Government now needs to block this appalling piece of legislation,” said Mr Van Orden.
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Labour's only East of England MEP Richard Howitt voted to end the opt out. “British workers still work some of the most excessive hours in Europe, and while I want to ensure that they have good employment and sufficient income to support themselves.
“I also want working people across Suffolk and Essex to have the choice to spend more time with their children and families and not to have to work hours which in reality can cause workers from drivers to doctors to be a danger to themselves and others. It is a difficult balancing act to achieve, but I believe this decision is in the best interests of all employees and their families.
“Today's vote will not stop anyone working beyond 48 hours in a week. What was agreed was that over the course of an entire year the average hours worked in a week will be 48, this is hugely flexible. In any one week, the total could be as many as 78.
“Following today's vote a process begins where Parliament will further negotiate with Governments including the UK to seek to find a compromise agreement,” said Mr Howitt.