The Working Time Directive sets out minimum rules for the protection of workers. It is a health and safety measure which has over time done little to either clarify or simplify the law. Employers have found many practical solutions to the problems which the directive has caused, but at a cost to them. Ceemet members do not seek a revision of the Directive, but out of pragmatism, look ahead to future developments and what these might mean for Europe’s manufacturing employers.
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- The Working Time Directive, now with a complex overlay of contradictory decisions from the Court of Justice, has done little to improve Europe’s competitiveness.
- The social partners have frequently, together, found practical ways to heed its decisions, minimising the impractical approach that the Court has often taken. Having undergone this painful process, Ceemet members see little advantage in now reopening the insoluble enigma of the organisation of working time at a European level. Success appears unlikely.
- But at the same time, Ceemet can see pressure again building for another attempt at reforming this directive, and considers here what this might mean for the industrial engine room of Europe – its metals and technology sector.