People Need To Work Longer Hours To Make Ends Meet

PUBLISHED: 11:54 17 March 2009 | UPDATED: 10:46 04 May 2010

I WOULD like to thank the Ely Standard for highlighting the serious issue which retained fire-fighters face under the EU s Working Time Directive. As you rightly pointed out, UK-based companies can presently opt out and work longer than 48 hours which i

I WOULD like to thank the Ely Standard for highlighting the serious issue which retained fire-fighters face under the EU's Working Time Directive.

As you rightly pointed out, UK-based companies can presently opt out and work longer than 48 hours which is presently permitted, but there are proposals to put an end to this, which could have a considerable impact on the provision of retained fire-fighters. It could also affect doctors who are 'on-call'.

Unfortunately, Labour MEPs over here, including Richard Howitt who represents the Eastern Region, voted to scrap the opt out, which 15 out of 27 member states currently use. This will mean that people can only work a maximum of 48 hours per week. Even our Labour Government has supported this.

It should be up to individuals to decide how long they want to work. What makes this Directive particularly ridiculous is the fact that it only applies to work, and not individual workers, so it is entirely legal under the current legislation for people to have two or three jobs in the same week at up to 30 hours each.

We are living in hard times during a global recession and people will want to work extra hours to make ends meet. That is the resounding message we need to give our Government, which is presently holding discussion with the European Commission on this issue.

ROBERT STURDY

MEP

Eastern Region

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