Friday, December 19, 2008

EU working time directive

I have no idea what the Lib Dems were up to with the opt out vote on EU working time directive.

The Tories voted to keep it, i.e. they are happy for people to work ridiculous hours, much of it unpaid - I'd expect nothing less from them.

Labour MEPs rebelled against Gordon Brown who also wanted to keep it and voted to end the opt out.

Obviously Green MEPs voted to end the opt out!

But I don't understand what the Lib Dems were playing at by voting to keep the opt out. The comment in the Guardian was a euro skeptic, 'who do they think they are telling us what to do?'. Personally I think the EU has every right to protect the people of Europe against bad employers and practices. Claiming that the opt out is essential in a downturn is equally bizzare. Why should we employ someone to work for 50 paid hours each week plus 10 unpaid hours when we could employ two people?

The implications of the end to the opt out are probably the greatest in the NHS. It will give managers a bit of headache when trying to cover rotas, but the solution is to grown more clinicians, not work them into the ground. Of course that takes money and time, but so be it.

I also think it is important that the unions take note about what LDs did.

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