By James Chapman
Workers face overtime ban after MEPs block Britain’s opt-out of Europe’s 48-hour week
Hundreds of thousands of workers could lose their right to earn extra money working overtime after Brussels voted to scrap Britain’s opt-out from the 48-hour working week.
Labour Euro MPs defied Gordon Brown and backed the move to end our special deal on the issue.
The vote horrified business leaders, who say scrapping the right to work more than 48 hours a week would deal a devastating blow to Britain’s economy just as it enters a recession.
Most EU countries are opposed to the opt-out, negotiated by the last Tory government, which they believe gives Britain an unfair competitive advantage.
Today the employment and social affairs committee of the European Parliament voted by a large majority to scrap the deal in three years’ time.
The issue will now go to a vote of the European Parliament next month. If it follows the committee’s lead and votes to end the opt-out, a summit of EU leaders will be convened
The final decision would be taken by a qualified-majority vote, leaving Britain without a veto.
David Frost, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: ‘Abolishing the opt-out will constrain businesses at a time when they are key to lifting the UK out of recession. It could mean lower earnings and lower living standards for many workers.’
Comments from Daily Mail’s website:
This shows that the opt-outs granted to Britain are worthless in the long term. Not that I think this one was particularly good, but it should have been up to Westminster to end it, not Brussels.
– ken, london england, 06/11/2008 09:31