Working Time Solutions Back Opt Out
MEPs back bid to scrap 48 hour work opt-out
A deal that would allow Britain to keep its opt-out from European Union curbs on working hours has been rejected by Euro-MPs this week. The decision now has to go to the full vote of the parliament next month before the amendment to the working time directive comes into force.
Opt out to be scrapped:
Kevin White from Working Time Solutions comments: Labour MEP Stephen Hughes has it exactly right, we are dealing here with Health and Safety legislation designed to combat long hours working and the associated fatigue, stress and productivity issues that arise as a result. No one is questioning the right of the individual to work overtime, but the wisdom of allowing individuals to work excessive overtime is in question.
Frankly, I am surprised at Mandelsons comments and those of the various industry bodies such as the CIPD, IOD and EEF defending the opt-out as being essential to the UKs ability to remain competitive. They are all off message in terms of what is happening in the UKs leading manufacturing organisations. Defence of the Opt-Out is a defence of restrictive and old fashioned working practices and the institutionalised dependency on overtime. This restricts productivity and efficiency and increases risk of accidents, fatigue and stress in the workplace and also places disproportional power with relatively small groups within the workplace. At Working Time Solutions we believe that companies dont have to make any sacrifices. We argue that 48 hours on average, over an extended period is already a lot to work and yet, if the requirement for labour is planned more efficiently and proactively then companies can work within the capped limits, while still obtaining market flexibility.
Abandoning the opt-out doesnt mean companies have to lose out, they simply need to realign labour supply with demand and anticipate contingencies. In fact they could benefit financially from the opt-out being scrapped and actually win a rationale for change to more effective ways of working. It could provide a welcome end to the UKs long-hours culture and dependence on expensive overtime, whilst improving health and safety and the work-life balance of employees.
The 48 hours maximum average over a period of 17, 26 or 52 weeks as available under the original Directive, can provide more than enough flexibility for businesses to deal with planned demand and contingencies, in a similar way to many of our European competitors in France and Germany do. They still consistently manage to attain higher levels of productivity while lowering overall costs in their production environments and there is no reason why industries over here cant do the same.
About Working Time Solutions:
Working Time Solutions provides advice and software for shift pattern planning, workforce forecasting, scheduling, and management, tackling annual hours, and strategies to match workforce supply to business demand at the lowest cost