Directors attack EU over working time inflexibility

European
Union plans to curtail the UK’s
flexible approach to working time are a ‘back to the 1970s’ approach to labour
market policy, according to the Institute
of Directors
(IoD).

The
IoD was responding to
reports that the European Commission’s plans for reform of the UK’s opt-out
from the Working Time Directive would require trades unions, not individual
employees, to decide whether staff could exercise their right to opt out of the
48-hour maximum working week.

Under
the EC’s proposals, employees in non-unionised companies would have to renew
their opt-out every year, and opt-outs during probationary periods would be
banned. The commission also plans to return to the possibility of scrapping the
opt-out altogether in five years’ time.

The
IoD’s head of European and
regulatory affairs, James Walsh, said: "The commission’s plans are rooted
in a 1970s approach to labour market policy, at the very time when we need to
be competing in the global markets of the 21st century.

"We
need a more flexible approach to employee-employer relations. Scrapping the
working hours opt-out and handing more powers to the unions takes us in
completely the wrong direction.

"Some
76 per cent of IoD members
say they would not be able to run their companies as efficiently if the opt-out
were to go. The Government will have our strong support in fighting these
misguided proposals," he said.

By Quentin Reade

 

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