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EU - banning working hard

BBC NEWS | Business | EU mulls changes to working hours

The European Commission is to discuss changes to the EU's Working Time Directive on Wednesday as it tries to limit the time employees spend at work.
On the table will be plans that would curtail the ability of member states, including the UK, to opt out of the 48-hour maximum working week.

That is the way to revive flagging economies - not. The poor bloody donkeys who actually do the work to support the bloated bureaucracies are not going to be allowed to a bit extra in case they make a little bit of money for themselves. It is a basket case.


These measures are essential if free trade is to stand any chance of taking hold and flourishing in Europe.

Traditionally, all countries have feared cheap foreign imports of one sort or another and so have disrupted trade with, for example, tariffs which damage the world economy. Yet removing trade barriers is never popular with the industries they claim to protect. Simply dismantling barriers is likely to see jobs exported to those countries where labour is cheapest.

Itís the EUís job to create a legal and regulatory framework that encourages and enables a level playing field across the union. The only way to do this is to harmonise or dismantle so called social legislation (minimum wages, working times etc).

Failure to harmonise will create great disparities between EU countries and re-popularise protectionism.

Free trade has little chance of taking hold, much less flourishing, within the EU - least of all, towards the rest of the world, if these changes are instituted; the EU member states will then have still greater incentive to block free trade with states outside the union.

Had the choice been made to scrap all such protectionism, there would have been far fewer obstacles towards free trade. Of course, the chances of that happening are somewhat slimmer than of me having pork wings for tea.

The current situation (with opt-outs) does at least allow some free-market pressures into Fortress Europa.

Why does forcing countries to adopt the same social policies ENCOURAGE free trade? It's the antithesis of free trade.

You know perfectly well this isn't about restricting people's freedom, but ensuring it.

Why on Earth should someone have to work an astronomical number of hours in a week simply to earn a living? Without laws that ensure a minimum standard, 'free' trade becomes a race to the bottom, offering cheaper, more flexible labour. We become, literally, nations of blacklegs and lightweights. How does that equal progress, the advance of civilisation?

Simonís spot-on in flagging up the creation of Fortress Europe. But in its stead is not the option of no fortress, but of many fortresses. The incentive to hinder trade with states outside the union remains the same.

Opt-outs leave more to the market, but to suggest these market pressures aid trade is nonsense. They represent the peaks and troughs on the playing field. A country with an opt-out, may attract capital and labour but that attractiveness is a product of market forces distorted by a faulty regulatory environment.

James has obviously misunderstood that the alternatives to harmonised social policy are protectionism or as Andrew suggests, a race to the bottom.

The race to the bottom was Thatcherís vision. She aimed for the UK in Europe to have the least regulated labour market. That is, the lowest wages, longest hours worked and least onerous health and safety regulations.

But why on Earth would the rest of Europe stand by as their jobs moved to Britain? What would todayís Tory/UKIP supporters make of all those working class Europeans following the jobs to the UK? The pressure for the UK to leave the EU would be overwhelming and would enable the remaining members to erect the fortress walls against us.

You always know people are talking bollocks when they start appealing to 'civilization'

Great civilizations have included the Romans who denuded north africa of animals and gloried in the blood of the arena, the ancient greeks who thought pederasty was great and the chinese who thought bad civil servants should be castrated, but also had some very bad ideas like binding up womens feet. Most 'civilized' people in England think that foxes should have more rights than unborn children. Go figure.

This directive may well be mostivated by the desire to promote freedom not restrict it, but That's irrelevant if it doesn't achieve it. Even if you think that there should be a directive on working hours it doesn't follow that it should be imposed by an undemocratically elected government abroad rather than our own elected government in Britain

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