Exmouth workers could be banned from working overtime

PUBLISHED: 11:11 17 November 2008 | UPDATED: 10:01 10 June 2010

STRUGGLING Exmouth families could be banned from working overtime to make ends meet in the run up to Christmas by European bureaucrats.

STRUGGLING Exmouth families could be banned from working overtime to make ends meet in the run up to Christmas by European bureaucrats.

One of the region's Euro MPs, Conservative Neil Parrish, has warned that a crucial vote next month could see workers barred from squeezing in a few extra hours at work.

Labour Members of the European Parliament want to reverse Britain's opt-out of the working time directive, which says you can't work longer than 48 hours per week.

The Conservative government negotiated an opt-out in 1993, to enable workers to have personal choice.

However, the European Parliament's employment committee led by Labour MEP Stephen Hughes, the group's employment spokesman has this week voted to scrap the opt-out.

And now Mr Parish is now calling on East Devon workers who take advantage of the flexibility of the opt-out, and the local small businesses who rely on it to write to their Labour MEPs demanding they back Britain's interests:

"Exmouth's workers and businesses both want the opt-out to remain, yet Labour MEPs continue to undermine it.

"The British government must not let workers down at a time when they want to work a few extra hours to make ends meet.

"As Christmas approaches, families are looking to bring in some extra cash. While anti-social working patterns should be discouraged, it is not the place of MEPs to tell people how long they are allowed to work.

"During a recession we should be encouraging hard work, not outlawing it, and enabling personal choice rather than restricting it.

"The Labour government's rhetoric on supporting workers and small businesses through this difficult period must be met with similar action from Labour MEPs. It is time for Gordon Brown to get a grip on his MEPs and demand they back British jobs."

The directive was adopted by the majority of member states, because of fears that some workers, like lorry drivers and doctors, were being forced to work unreasonably long hours - and fatigue was putting people at risk.

Mr Hughes said it was "wrong in principle" to opt-out of what he described as a "health and safety law".

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