We'll fight EU hours ruling, say bosses

NIGEL BOURNE: "Terrible signal"
NIGEL BOURNE: "Terrible signal"

BOSSES today pledged to fight "tooth and nail" against proposed EU restrictions on working hours.

Nigel Bourne, the CBI’s South East Regional Director, said of the plans: "This is an attempt to broker a compromise that has completely backfired.

"The proposals show a clear misunderstanding of the UK's industrial relations culture, which serves this country well.

"It is good that the Commission is allowing the opt-out to remain, but it is quite wrong to give a trade unions a veto over what should be an individual decision. The proposals would undermine the individual's right to choose the hours they work.

"The new requirement to maintain records of hours even when an individual has chosen to opt out would trigger a mass of unnecessary form-filling for employers and employees. It is an administrative minefield that could land companies in court if they get it wrong.

"This sends a terrible signal to all those who still hope the EU might deliver on long-promised economic reforms."

On annual renewal and probationary periods, Mr Bourne said: "Having annual agreement together with collective agreement is wholly unacceptable.

"Unions would be able to use the opt out as a bargaining chip, allowing them to hold management over a barrel every 12 months."

In the 2004 CBI-Pertemps employment trends survey, published this month, 72 per cent of employers said losing the individual opt-out would have some impact on their businesses and 45 per cent said it would have a severe or significant negative impact.

Forty-one per cent feared it would undermine their ability to meet customer needs.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More