Commission urged to take account of latest research on working time
(2 March 2011) EPSU, the European Federation of Public Service Unions, sent a clear message to the European Commission calling for the protection provided by the Working Time Directive to be upheld and urging the Commission to take more account of the research it specifically commissioned.
EPSU general secretary Carola Fischbach-Pyttel said: “It is disappointing that the Commission’s Communication seems to ignore many of the findings of the report by the Deloitte consultancy. The Communication continues to call for greater flexibility without providing the concrete evidence to support its case and fails to take account of some of Deloitte’s key findings.”
EPSU’s response to the second phase of consultation on the Directive restates the call to end the individual opt-out and to codify the important European Court of Justice (ECJ) rulings on on-call time (SIMAP, Jaeger and Dellas). The Federation also wants clearer rules to prevent any delay in taking compensatory rest and doesn’t believe that there should be any changes to the reference periods without the protection of collective bargaining.
Despite the Commission’s claims that the spread of the individual opt-out makes its abolition “unrealistic”, EPSU joins with the rest of the European trade union movement in arguing for an end to a clause that makes a nonsense of this fundamental piece of health and safety legislation.
Ms Fischbach-Pyttel added: “The Commission has asked if trade unions are willing to negotiate on some key working time issues but offers a one-sided bargaining agenda. We would consider negotiations but we need to set some minimum criteria. The Commission talks about maintaining the opt-out, watering down the ECJ rulings and allowing employers more flexibility in calculating the 48-hour maximum working week. All that seems to be on offer to compensate for this weakening of a central piece of social legislation are some vague promises about new information rights and individual rights to ask for flexible working.”