I am both greatly amused whilst being equally heavy hearted at the usual lemming like outcry from many of the well indoctrinated inhabitants of these British Isles over the news that Europe has voted to remove Britain’s opt out concerning the EU 48 hour week working time directive.
The BBC’s Have Your Say (always a good place to visit to find out how a certain element in Britain is thinking) is awash with outraged of Tunbridge Wells and the like spouting forth some well tutored vitriol at Europe for limiting the number of hours they can keep their noses to the grindstone in any working week.
In essence the repeated sentiment is along the lines of ‘British turkey’s must retain the right to vote for Xmas’.
Got To See It Their Way?
You’ll find similar sentiment in our nation’s slightly biased media happy to spread the kind of misinformation that their consumers seem only too ready to believe.
The fact that so many people actually believe that this piece of EU legislation seriously restricts the number of hours an individual wishes to work shows how much influence Britain’s largely right wing press has and how well it is able to spread such misinformation to an eager public so desperate to have their irrational fears and xenophobia stoked to near boiling point.
Can You Hear Me?
To clarify, the legislation is and has always been about preventing employers from making it compulsory to work more than 48 hours per week and being able to unfairly treat or even sack employees who did not wish to work those hours. It does not prevent anybody from working more than 48 hours by their own free choice. It’s about protecting people from being unduly pressured to work long hours and those who would find their employment terminated if they do not comply.
Shamefully, in my opinion the British Government has had an opt out on this legislation which allowed British employers to impose working hours over and above 48 hours arguing that Britain’s businesses needed the ‘flexibility’ (read ability to make their employees work very long hours by default) in order to remain competitive.Europe has now voted to remove Britain’s veto on this legislation so in time British businesses will be required to comply with the directive.
Personally I welcome the end of Britain’s compulsory long working hours culture (at least in law if not in practice).If you want or need to work long 60-80 hours weeks in order to make ends meet (and it might be interesting to ask exactly why this is ever so in Britain) then you are still perfectly free to do so.
Seasons greetings to all the British turkeys who still wish to vote for Xmas