Labour MEPs Threaten UK Opt-Out

The UK opt-out from the Working Time Directive will be voted on in the European Parliament tomorrow. The report calls for the complete abolition of the UK opt-out from the directive and also proposes to take the British Government to the European Court of Justice for allegedly misapplying the directive.

British Labour MEP Stephen Hughes has been leading the calls to abolish the opt-out. Yesterday in the European Parliament he called the UK opt-out "dangerous nonsense".

North West MEP Sir Robert Atkins said:

"Labour MEPs have consistently voted to remove the UK opt-out to the Working Time Directive - against British interests and their own government. In September last year, a UK Labour MEP called on the Commission to revoke the opt-out and every British Labour MEP supported this. Two weeks ago, Labour MEPs not only called for the complete abolition of the opt-out, they also proposed to take their own government to court!

The opt-out provides flexibility sought by employers and employees. Employees should retain the freedom to choose how many hours they work, and should not be prevented from enjoying extra overtime pay.

It is about time that Labour MEPs put employment and employees at the top of their agenda. For the sake of British jobs, the government must bring its MEPs into line before they do further damage."

Notes to Editors
- The report states "Given the recognition in the Commission Communication of a widespread and systematic abuse of the directive...insists that the Commission immediately institute an infringement procedure against the UK Government."
- In a report on the Social Policy Agenda by Portuguese Communist MEP Ilda Figuereido, Labour MEP Stephen Hughes (North East region) tabled an amendment calling on the Commission "to revoke the provision exempting employers from the application of the (Working Time) directive where the employee voluntarily agrees thereto." The amendment was narrowly defeated in a vote in the European Parliament on 3rd September.
Top ↑