No Time to Lose: A Search for Work / Life Balance

euro|topics: Controversial working time directive (11/06/2008) by notimetolose
June 11, 2008, 9:39 am
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Hot off the European presses! Reposted from European Press Review of 11/06/2008

Controversial working time directive

After years of wrangling, the employment ministers of the EU member states have agreed on Europe-wide regulations on working hours. But now the newspapers have taken up the debate. Europe’s press comments on the new working time directive and its consequences.

La Repubblica – Italy
The Italian newspaper La Repubblica sees the compromise on the EU working time directive primarily as a success for British policies: “The British – champions of the long working week, are delighted, while the Belgians and Spanish are declaring war. Meanwhile, the European Trade Union Confederation condemns the compromise as unacceptable. The doctors are manning the barricades, because under the new directive inactive hours when doctors are on call count as free time. The document lay idle for six years, now it is to reconcile European social policy with Britain’s free trade policy. … Whatever else may be said, this is a victory for British deregulation.” 11/06/2008

» full article (external link, Italian)
More from the press review on the subject » EU Policy, » Social Policy / Employment, » Economic Policy, » Europe
All available articles from » Alberto d’Argenio

El País – Spain
The Spanish newspaper El País condemns the new EU working time directive in its leading article as an attack on the rights of workers: “In passing this directive … the ministers have put an end to the achievement of the 48-hour week, which the unions were able to push through in 1917. … This harsh, anti-social setback was made possible by the changes in government in France and Italy. The right-wing governments there have shed the negative stance they shared with Spain, and have now obtained a slim majority. … Starting in the area of working hours, this directive heralds an onslaught on the rights of workers, which have maintained social peace in Europe over decades. … Several governments … are making use of the Eastern enlargement [of the EU] to import some of the worst ultra-liberal traits of wild capitalism.” 11/06/2008

» full article (external link, Spanish)
More from the press review on the subject » EU Policy, » Social Policy / Employment, » United Kingdom, » Italy, » Spain, » Europe, » Eastern Europe

Karjalainen – Finland
The daily sees the new agreement on working hours as one of the EU’s masterpieces. “The employment ministers have agreed to make a 65-hour-week possible should it be necessary. … Subcontracted workers are to work under the same work and employment conditions as other workers from the very first day of work. … Seen as a whole, it is good thing that the definition of the working time directive takes national differences into account. The labour markets and wage agreements vary greatly from country to country. The welcome result”, writes the paper, “is increased flexibility in the labour markets.” 11/06/2008

» full article (external link, Finnish)
More from the press review on the subject » EU Policy, » Social Policy / Employment, » Europe

die tageszeitung – Germany
For the left-wing newspaper die tageszeitung, the new working time directive will endanger next year’s European Parliament elections. “Slovenia wanted to achieve a compromise at all costs regarding the working time directive and temporary agency workers. This would have added shine to its EU presidency and put next year’s European elections in a good light. … But Europe currently lacks the basis for a common social policy. While the UK and most new member states are convinced that workers’ flexibility creates growth that benefits all, most people in countries like Belgium and France believe that workers’ rights must be protected. For that reason, discussion on common minimum labour law standards should be postponed until the 27 old and new EU members can more or less agree on what a social market economy should look like. Hopefully by that time there will still be people willing to vote.” 11/06/2008

» full article (external link, German)
More from the press review on the subject » EU Policy, » Social Policy / Employment, » Economic Policy, » Europe
All available articles from » Daniela Weingärtner

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