UK 'seeks working time rules deal' over treaty talks

Angela Merkel and David Cameron It has been reported Angela Merkel and David Cameron agreed the deal last week.

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Downing Street says Britain will use talks on the eurozone to try to limit EU curbs on the working week.

There have been reports David Cameron and Germany's Angela Merkel agreed a deal reviewing the working time directive in return for any eurozone-related treaty changes.

No 10 did not comment directly on those reports, but said the government "will look for opportunities" created by talks to further British interests.

The two leaders held talks on Friday.

The president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, is due to report in December on options for improving the economic governance of the eurozone, and one option would be limited treaty change.

Treaty change would require all member countries of the EU to agree, and Britain views this as an opportunity to win changes in other areas, such as protection for the single market and the City of London.

Some reports suggest that a tentative deal was agreed during the prime minister's visit to Berlin, under which Germany would allow an examination of the impact of the directive, which limits the working week to 48 hours across Europe.

In return Mr Cameron reportedly agreed that the UK will sign up to German proposals for a "narrow" amendment to the Lisbon Treaty to put the eurozone's fiscal rules on a legal basis and introduce automatic sanctions for any of the 17 single currency states which breached them.

Britain already has an opt-out from the directive which allows individual workers to say that they do not wish to be limited to a 48-hour week.

But European Court of Justice rulings have had an impact on particular groups, such as doctors, oil rig workers and those whose job involves being "on call" for periods of time.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    I worked with teams that regularly signed the opt-out for the working time directive.
    I used to argue that it had falling asleep at the wheel written all over it and was proved right!
    Several members of the team reported falling asleep driving home after working a double shift; and one of them was riding a motorbike!

    Another backward step for the UK.

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    Camerons out of touch with the econemy .People are going hungry more deaths will happen this year due to weather payments cuts.People on his own door step are having to rely on food banks FACT .When is he going to realise that people have had enough of his silly ideas that isnt going to get the econemy going at all

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    @PH73 Actually i do work over 48 hours a week on a low wage because the business wouldnt survive if i did not and jobs in this economy a hard to come by. So maybe you should stop making sweeping statements about peoples working lives with whom you have had no contact.....Go bother some other HYS before making sweeping statements about peoples working lives.

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    The law as it stands even has no teeth. Although the WTD is part of H&S law, the HSE are not required to investigate reports of infringements. It falls to employees to go to Court, risking costs on what is in some ways a vaguely-drafted Statute. I know a firm that demands staff to be on 24 hr callout, for 290 days a year, as there is as yet no judge's ruling against this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    cameron is a very clever con .Pitty he dont put his brains to good use instead of ripping britain off with a smile


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