Brussels to Endorse Working Time Changes | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 22.09.2004
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Brussels to Endorse Working Time Changes

European Commissioners meeting in Brussels are expected to approve changes to the EU's Working Time Directive. Britain's unions are worried their labor market flexibility will be harmed if the changes are put in place.

The proposal for changes would give trade unions a veto over average working weeks of more than 48 hours in workplaces where they have bargaining powers. Employers are however concerned that such limits on working time will harm the flexibility of the UK labor market. The British top union boss Brendan Barber has also voiced concerns and has called for the European Commission to drop its proposals. "We urge the commission to abandon their current proposals to enable further consultation with unions and employers as neither are content with what is on the table," Barber wrote in a letter sent to EU Commissioner Stavros Dimas on Monday. "UK workers are going to be left exposed to dangerous long hours working by these weak reforms to our weak working time protections." A leading doctors' group last week also attacked the commission’s proposal saying it could prevent "on-call" doctors from getting adequate rest between shifts. (

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