Well, it finally happened. After promising to protect workers rights, the Prime Minister is now under pressure to begin disamantling basic workers rights once we leave the EU with Boris Johnson and Micheal Gove cheered on by the right wing media aiming to scrap the Working Time Directive applying to workers in the UK.
Watch out for the argument that scrapping the Directive would make it easier for workers to earn ‘more money’ – or as one newspaper described it – “an overtime bonanza”.
The working time directive, a piece of key health and safety legislation, watered down by the Tories with an “opt-out” for individuals. Many workers originally signed the op-out fearful they would not be able to work overtime. Some were even threatned with losing their jobs. Sadly, New Labour failed to scrap the opt-out, fearful of the trashing they would get from the right wing press and of curtailing peoples right to work all the hours God sends – no matter what the consequences are.
But the fact is that under the EU’s working time directive each member state must ensure that every worker must not exceed working more than 48 hours on average, (over and upto a 52 week period) as well as providing for minimum rest periods during a shift, minimum weekly rest time and – guaranteed paid annual leave, of at least four weeks (28 days a year) – excluding bank holidays. There are also restictions on the use of child labour.
Many decent employers will recognise a long hours, work until you drop culture is no way to run a productive business. Indeed most employers organisations do not want changes to legisalation that they have got used to.
The TUC have started the campaign to oppose the scrapping of the Working Time Directive with a petition which you can sign here.
Please pass this on and lets stop the spivs and speculators in their tracks.
Most importantly lets see Labour exposing this cynical move for what it is, a chance to turn the UK into an offshore, low skill, low paid ‘poundland’ economy.