“An attack on the Working Time Directive is an attack on British workers’ rights.” This is the sentiment echoed by millions of British workers. The workers are responding to the news that Tory MPs has been accused by the TUC of plotting to use Brexit to rob workers of their holidays and weaken employment rights.
Protecting Worker’s Rights
In a recent article posted by The Sunday Times, Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Environment, seems to be desperately urging PM Theresa May to stop the UK’s involvement in the EU’s Working Time Directive. This would mean that UK workers’ work week wouldn’t be limited to 48 hours anymore. Gove is planning on using this week’s Cabinet meeting on Tuesday to issue his demands.
The move is a controversial one, with some MPs backing the move and others calling it a clear violation of individual workers’ rights. Brexiteer MPs side with Gove and wants Cabinet to end the rule. They cite that this will put the power to decide how hard workers’ work back into the hands of the people. However, the TUC sees it differently. General Secretary of the TUC, Frances O’Grady, for one, is furious with the new move. In an interview, she said, “This is a straight-up attack on our rights at work. Millions could lose their paid holidays, and be forced to work ridiculously long hours”
Dire Consequences for Workers
Ms. O’Grady thinks the move will have dire consequences for the ordinary British worker. She also warns that this scheme could put the power in the hands of bosses who might want to exploit their employees, neglecting worker rights. The General Secretary applauded The Working Time Directive for giving nearly five million women paid holidays for the first time. In the interview, she also added, “The prime minister promised that our working rights would be protected after Brexit. Now we will see if she can keep her word, or if she is a hostage to extremists in her own cabinet.”
If you don’t understand how this move could affect you, let me explain. The Working Time Directive was designed to protect workers from working more than 48 hours per week if they don’t want to. This directive means that employees had the right to choose if they would work more than the allotted 48 hours. Now you might be asking, “who would want to work more than 48 hours?” Imagine a case where a doctor wanting to work overtime to save a patient’s life. Or how about a retail clerk trying to get her Christmas overtime bonus. These are just some of the instances where workers rely on the EU’s Working Time Directive. This Directive allows British workers some freedom to decide, and scrapping it would put the power to decide back into the hands of money hungry employers.
PM needs to decide whose side she’s on
Now it’s up to PM Theresa May to decide how important worker’s rights are to an economy that was built by workers. If she sides with Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, then she would have turned her back on the British worker. Subjecting the British workforce to potential abuse.
So what do you think?
Should Ms. May pull out the EU’s Working Time Directive? Or should she reign in the MPs on her Cabinet? Tell us in the comments…