date: 5 November 2008

TUC welcomes decision to scrap opt-out from 48 hour week
Responding to today's decision by the employment social affairs committee of the European Parliament to scrap the Working Time Directive opt-out by 35 votes to 13, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:

'Workers across the UK will be heartened by the committee's vote to end the opt-out from the 48 hour week.

'Our long hours culture, which has been shored up by the opt-out, has risked the health of many workers. Regularly working more than 48 hours increases the chance of suffering from heart disease and stress related illness, as well as diabetes and other ailments.

'The vast majority of long hours workers want to move to a better work-life balance and are hungry for change. Today's vote is a welcome step towards ending the opt-out and the pressure will now be on the European Parliament to ratify the decision next month.'