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European Working Time Directive

Part of Opposition Day — [7th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 7:47 pm on 10th March 2009.

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Photo of Alan Johnson Alan Johnson The Secretary of State for Health 7:47 pm, 10th March 2009

I beg to move an amendment, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and add:

"agrees it is right that no worker should be required to work longer than 48 hours per week averaged over 26 weeks unless he or she freely chooses to do so;
notes the Government's manifesto commitment to maintaining the individual opt-out from the European Working Time Directive;
further notes the importance of the individual opt-out which is used by the UK along with 14 other EU member states;
recognises that maintaining the individual opt-out is a key part of the UK's flexible labour market and of particular importance during the current economic climate;
understands the particular concerns related to the working of excessive hours in the medical professions and welcomes the significant progress that has been made in the NHS to reduce junior doctors' hours;
further notes the challenges faced as a result of the SiMAP and Jaeger judgements;
further recognises that a solution is required in order to bring back much needed flexibility to the treatment of on-call time and compensatory rest time;
welcomes the significant progress made in introducing the Working Time Directive across all clinical and staff groups within the NHS;
further recognises that an extended derogation is necessary for a limited number of specialties and isolated, rural locations in order to ensure the efficient implementation of the Directive;
and supports the continuing action to work with staff, clinicians, the British Medical Association and the Royal Colleges to ensure the workable implementation of the Working Time Directive to the benefit of patients and staff."

This debate provides a timely opportunity to remind the House of the principles behind the European working time directive. The philosophy behind the motion was, I believe, something to do with the Conservative Whips, who wanted to get a bigger turnout on their Benches. If "European" is mentioned in the same line as "working time", all sorts of people come out of the woodwork. It is extremely important to ensure the proper implementation of the directive.

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