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Fire Services: Working Hours

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform written question – answered on 11th March 2009.

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Photo of Stewart Jackson Stewart Jackson Shadow Minister (Communities and Local Government)

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent discussions the Government have had within the Council of Ministers on the effect on retained firefighters of ending the UK's opt-out from the EU Working Time Directive.

Photo of Pat McFadden Pat McFadden Minister of State (Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform) (Employment Relations and Postal Affairs), Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

holding answer 9 March 2009

The UK Government recognises that losing the individual's right to opt-out of the 48-hour working week as set by the Working Time Directive, would have a detrimental effect on the hours which firefighters working the retained duty system could be available for duty, especially the substantial numbers who work full time for their primary employer. Many other workers also use this important flexibility and so and we remain firmly of the view that this right should remain. We, along with a majority of other member states are fighting for the retention of the opt-out as this dossier progresses through the European negotiation process.

I am very aware of the widespread concern on this issue amongst retained firefighters, and both from my Department and the Department for Communities and Local Government have worked very closely with the Retained Firefighters' Union and will continue to keep them informed throughout the negotiations.

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