Wednesday, May 11, 2005

EU Working time directive

This issue is a real bugbear for me. I am tired personally of hearing people like Sir Digby Jones go on about how if someone wants to do an extra five or six hours a week they should be allowed. He really has missed the point of the 48 hour max working week. In the UK most contracts people sign specify 40 hour week, and if people wanted to do the extra five or six hours, it would still be under the 48 hour max that the EU wants. What Jones and others like him are missing is the fact that many many people are coerced into signing an opt-out so that their employer can have them work as standard 50/60 even 70 hour weeks, which is so unacceptable. It isn’t a matter of choice, people are forced to sign an opt-out.

Euro-MPs back tighter work hours
EU debates working-hours limits

The reality is this and the links above show it, we as a country overwork our people, we do more hours than anyone in the EU and our productivity is lower, why? Simply because doing more than a certain number of hours in a day screws up your efficiency, it screws up your focus, your health, and we wonder why we are considered the sick man of Europe, because too many companies work their workers to the bone and then bleat when they are off sick through ill health, stress and other overworked related illnesses. The other factor never taken into account, is the damage caused to families, the overload on the NHS trying to keep these people going each and every day, stopping them from having breakdowns. This long hours culture we have in the UK is wrong, and the sooner we toe the line with the rest of Europe the better. Many studies have proved that working long hours saps your strength, it saps the creativity and is also a health and safety issue. If someone has been working for long hours, they can get sloppy, careless and cause injuries to themselves and those around them. For too long we have an attitude of the workers as they are nothing but a piece of meat, well the sooner it changes, the better and all this guff about losing competitiveness, is that, just guff, imagine how much more productivity and fewer sick days would do for the companies bottom line. What they are afraid of seeing is the fact that they either ask too much of their staff, or the fact that the job can be done in less time by healthy, vibrant workers.


Bishop Hill said...

If they don't like long hours, why don't they leave and get another job with hours more to their taste. People have real choices now.

Suppose someone wanted to work long hours so that they could pay for their child to get an operation done quickly privately. I would say they should be free to do so.

You presumably would argue that they should do as they are told (and to hell with the child).

Anonymous said...

obviously you didn't research the full story behind the WTD. If you had, you would have realise that most people don't have a choice over long hours because the employers want you sign the opt out as you sign your employment contract.
The idea that people have real choices today is a joke. They don't period. welcome to the real world where people like the CBI(know in the business community as Complete Bloody Idiots) live with Digby Jones in Ivory Towers. the uk loses it competiveness because it chooses to work harder not smarter.
Using the idea of saving for a childs private speedy operation is trying to lay on the guilt trip, have you been reading labour and tory party manifestos then? !
Hell - why not use my 90 year old father who fought in ww2 for you ungrateful young uns as an example.
Wouldn't it have been better to ask the question why do i have to work long hours to pay for something that should have been my right from the begining? do we really need to work excessive hours just to survive. Perhaps you would have been better off saying that people should leave their job for one that pays more?- that would have had more credibilty

Perhaps you wouldn't be so concerned when that same child is run over by someone who fall asleep at the wheel of their car because they were working such long hours to pay for their own childs private speedy operation.

people do have the right to work extra hours depending on the type of job they do- these exception do exist, but since employers cannot be relied on to use common sense, it has to be forced on them to behave properly.
You know when the arguement against WTD has failed when people use the old i want to earn extra money excuse. God- even the idea of losing our competiveness would have been a better arguement even though its baseless.

This comment is one of the reasons why professionals leave the UK to work somewhere better and why the UK cannot compete on the world market