Labour MEPs defy party line on WTD opt-out

Proposed changes to the Working Time Directive (WTD), which could have damaging consequences for the UK labour market, are being debated by the European Parliament.

Currently, individual workers can opt-out of the average 48-hour working week, with working time averaged over 52 weeks. But the manufacturers’ organisation EEF fears that amendments to the directive would threaten the retention of the opt-out and thereby remove a vital component of the UK labour market’s flexibility.

The organisation said it is concerned that some Labour MEPs appear determined to support these amendments, despite the fact that the UK government is fighting hard to retain the individual opt-out.

A spokeswoman for the European Commission told Personnel Today that it was “much too early to tell how the debate [on the directive] will come out”.

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