Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Common Sense Wins This Time

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Common Sense Wins This Time

Article excerpt

Byline: SARAH GREEN

EVER since the UK negotiated an opt-out from the European Union's working time laws, you have had a choice. Either you can stay within the 48-hour working week or, if you want to work longer hours, you can opt out.

You might call this an important liberty, or you might just call it common sense. Either way, it lets people decide for themselves. We think this is a good thing, and so does the UK government.

For the last five years, however, a sizeable group of politicians in Brussels has sought to remove the opt-out choice from Britain and other EU countries. Both the CBI and the government have lobbied hard to keep it.

Last week this came to a head, when discussions at the European Parliament meant to resolve the issue for good broke down.

This means that we have managed to keep the opt-out. But what does this mean for working people in the UK? The opt-out gives businesses and their staff flexibility in the hours they work. …

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