Monday, December 22, 2008

A 48 hour week

Well, isn't it generous of those nice MEPs to decide that we humble serfs should work no longer than 48 hours every week?
Britain has moved a step closer to being forced to limit the working week to 48 hours for all employees.

Euro MPs have voted in favour of ending Britain's opt-out from the EU working time directive.
...

If Britain is forced to axe its opt-out, the law will come into force in three years' time.

Fuck you, you scum-sucking sons-of-bitches: who the fuck are you to tell me how many hours I may work, eh? Most of you were not even elected by the voters of this country.
Britain is determined to keep the opt-out and will now start talks with EU ministers in an effort to keep it.

The UK does not have a veto on the issue but it is expected to join forces with other countries who back its position in order to get its way.

A decision is expected early next year following "conciliation" talks with the European council of ministers.

Oh, whoopee-fucking-do! We have to start grovelling to other countries and their god-awful representatives to decide whether or not the people of Britain should be allowed to work the hours that they choose: well, that makes me proud to be British, I must say.

The correct response should be: "fuck you, sunshine. It is none of your business how many hours individuals choose to work. In fact, it is not any business of the UK government's, let alone that of a parliament the majority of whose members are not even British. Fuck you: fuck you right in the ear, you scum."

Naturally, this won't happen. Because our leaders have all had their testicles removed, the shitbags.

30 comments:

Shaun said...

Good luck enforcing it. As a freelancer, I'd just bill an hour as a 3/4 hour, as it were, and let the non-existent monkey on my back do the differential math.

haddock said...

it will fuck the fire service, the retained men do perhaps 40 hrs at their day job.... a couple of hours a week on training.... one shout and they could be over their hours.
So it's either the Libertarian Party* or UKIP to get us out of it ;)

* possible piss take

Ian B said...

Of course it's their business. They're our government. It is absolutely right and proper that provincial governors should not have the power to overrule the wise decisions of the central government, who are our democratically elected representatives, because they were appointed by our governor, or something.

Really, all this carping is just getting in the way of a Europe that really delivers results, and it's shameful that people like you are allowed to criticise the consensus like this. What's the point of a consensus if people are going to disagree with it?

I'm ashamed to live in the same province as you. Your socially disruptive discohesivenessivity threatens the entire project. How are we to have heaven on earth with people like you about? I look forward to our fine MEPs putting a stop to this kind of European Union denialism. The important thing about democracy is that everybody agrees with our leaders. They are our representatives; and for them to represent our views properly, every fool can see that we must hold the same views as them.

Travis Bickle said...

We should just do exactly what our friends in the Iberian regions would do and file this edict, and anything else that doesn't benefit us directly, under "BIN". Sadly the jobsworths and bureaucrats will be chomping at the bit, now if there was ever a case of limiting working hours...........

TheFatBigot said...

Wasn't this one of Tony and Gordon's "red line" issues?

Just goes to show.

I don't think Mr Shaun has anything to worry about. As I understand it the 48-hour limit only applies to those employed by others, the self-employed can still suit themselves.

Fred Fry said...

How is it that they are able to exempt merchant seamen? Crews need to do a minimum 8 hrs every day of the week, going well over 48 for months at a time. (Yes, even weekends and holidays with no days off)

Henry North London said...

Of course it means that your humble NHS doctor isnt going to get the experience he needs and hes also going to be shafted in his paypacket aswell

Vive la revolution and lets have the Libertarian party in quick

If enough people vote sensibly ( there's a notion!) we might be able to have a Libertarian government sooner rather than when its far too late

Captcha Equit HR Funny! Not

Rob said...

So, it will come in at the same time as the tax rises required to pay for Gordon's binge. Also, it will be a year or so after the general election, so Council Tax rises will be at their highest (10% or so).

Huge rises in taxation, and law preventing people from working to pay for them.

Mitch said...

Just ignore it we do, when this particular steaming pile of horshite landed I was working nights and we couldn't opt out(thank you major) but we shrugged our shoulders and carried on doing 60 hours until browns economic miracle finished the company.

Michael Heaver said...

DK, you must remember that the European Parliament must keep itself busy passing harmonised EU legislation. Otherwise it might cease to exist and fall into some sort of blackhole. A bit of empathy goes a long way!

But seriously, these people are useless morons.

Roger Thornhill said...

And remember if Britain does secure the opt out with the help of other Gauleiters, we can expect a quid pro quo when they want something that we are not so happy about. Disgusting.

Ian B: "socially disruptive discohesivenessivity"

Your attitude has been noted, you know! Its been noted!

Could almost be a t-shirt slogan.

Dr Michael Anderson said...

Isn't the point of this law to prevent gross exploitation of workers by their employers?

48hrs is nine to five, six days a week. Plenty of work can be done in that time.

As a junior doctor, I've previously worked the 80 to 90 hours weeks that you seem to champion and from first hand experience, I can say that working these sort of hours makes your life a misery.

A 48hr limit is no bad thing

Blue Eyes said...

Mike Anderson: who is exploiting who? There is nothing to stop "junior doctors" - who are mostly bright people - taking jobs/careers which don't require them to work hard. Who is imposing their values on who here?

Why the f shouldn't I work hard to provide for my own bank account or family if I choose to?

If doctors can't manage 48 hours a week before keeling over then that is between them and their contract.

mister_choos said...

@ Dr. A
Alot of people who aren't very well paid rely on overtime to get by or pay for treats. Shouldn't it be for them to decide? Or maybe they should just take credit they can't afford.

The employers who currently exploit their workers will continue to do so. They may cut wages because they need to employ more people to do the overtime that is not now being done.

This is just another way to dry fuck private sector employers as the government will turn around and blame them for the workers been poorer. Public sector employees will still struggle to do 48 hours in a fortnight, but will probably go on strike about it anyway.

TheFatBigot said...

Methinks the good doctor has a sturdy grasp of the wrong end of the stick.

The issue is not whether people should be forced to work more than 48 hours. That is a matter for them to negotiate, through their enormously powerful trade union in his case.

The issue is whether those who wish to work more than 48 hours should be at liberty to do so.

It's not about doctors like him or lawyers like me. It's about those in low paid jobs who want to sacrifice their time because, for them, there is a benefit in doing so. It might be someone who wants to earn an extra £20 a week because he needs it for a booze-up at the weekend or it might be someone who will put the extra £20 into a savings scheme for the future.

Having a legal limit to the number of hours an employee can be forced to work is one thing, to say he has no right to work longer is simply obscene.

Those of us from lowly backgrounds know about this sort of thing. We saw our fathers work every minute their employers would allow so that they could provide as well as possible for their families.

Henry North London said...

I wasn't espousing a longer working week for all doctors. I myself have done a 250 hour fortnight as a junior doctor (if anyone wants to know I only got paid 500 quid for it after tax)

Those were the bad old days when you were forced to work those hours,

But if you are a locum and want to do a few more hours for the sake of a few hundred quid extra, you would be prevented from doing so

Also the stupid deal that the junior doctors signed up to in 2001 where extra hours meant extra money means that in order to command a decent income you had to get a reasonably busy job

They shafted us there too I was incensed and left the Junior doctors committee in disgust and never went back to the BMA political table as I realised they were such pansies in the face of their seniors.

Taking away our right to choose is like tying our hands behind our backs

Anonymous said...

So lets get this straight ... work your self to death to be just above the breadline = GOOD. Laws that prevent you working your self to death = BAD.

You need your head checked

If there is so much work in a company / organization that causes workers to do more then 48 hours I say they should employ more people instead of working people to the bone. Having had the wonderful mind fuck of working 60 hours a week for a year and without any benefit ( the job I was in didn't do paid overtime ), just to allow for my manager to get a bonus cause he 'managed' to keep the wage bill in check . I say screw you to anyone that wants to take advantage of me in that way or any organization that opposes to worker protection laws.

Henry North London said...

That is not what we are saying we are giving you the right to choose

Cripes You are taking responsibility for your own life

Get a grip

No one should be forced to work those hours, least of all in the NHS but you should have the option to say no or yes depending on whether you want to or not

I dont why we bother when the great unwashed cant get their brain in gear

You have to take responsibility for yourselves No more nanny state interference and no more crap

How many farmers do you think work just 48 hours a week?

Ian B said...

Anonymous, did you sign a contract saying you would work arbitrary amounts of overtime for no recompense?

Congratulations, you're an idiot.

BenM said...

Anonymous is right. 15 years of wailing at the working time directive because Britain's economy was supposedly better than our European peers' for workers flogging themselves to death at the coal face for a zillion hours or more.

Now Britain's economy is contracting faster than any other nation. So much for the long-hours culture!! PMSL!

Another plank of conservative so-called supply side economics collapses into the ravine under the weight of its own contradiction.

The vote exposes eurosceptic thinking for the unbridled nonsense it so clearly is.

James Higham said...

Well, DK, it's only appropriate for the kitchen of the devil to wish you a Merry Christmas and trust the time passes well for you.

Anonymous said...

This blog posts seems a bit short sighted DK.

These proposals only apply to employees - I.E those with a boss, and are a means of combating the problem of people being forced to work ridiculously long hours. If you want to work for yourself work all the hours you want, but you shouldn't be able to pressure someone into working longer than 48 hours a week.

These laws ensure that we're entitled to a personal life as well as a work life.

Your argument is equally as valid against the minimum wage, as in, "why should anyone tell me I shouldn't work for under £5.60 and hour etc..." yet that solved the problem of people being paid a pittance.

JPT said...

Just what hard pressed businesses need right now - the grafters denied the right to graft!!!

Dick Puddlecote said...

Where did that Doctor who talked bollocks go after he was comprehensively tanked?

Merry Christmas DK. :-)

Dr Michael Anderson said...

Dick Puddlecote – I’ve been **working** and I’m not talking bollocks, merely pointing out the elephant in the room here.

Blue Eyes – You are either being flippant or you just don’t understand the situation.

There is nothing to stop "junior doctors" - who are mostly bright people - taking jobs/careers which don't require them to work hard.

Listen, the NHS is a monopoly employer. I cannot choose to work for another organisation unless I leave the country.

Why the f shouldn't I work hard to provide for my own bank account or family if I choose to?

There’s NOTHING stopping you. You obviously don’t understand the legislation. If you want to work all day and all night, become self-employed and you are totally free to do so. This is about stopping employers FORCING their staff to work all day and all night.

If doctors can't manage 48 hours a week before keeling over then that is between them and their contract.

Have you been smoking crack or something? In all the years I’ve been working for the NHS, next year will be the first time my hours are as low as 48/week. Trust me, I know all about hard work.

Mister_choos –

Alot of people who aren't very well paid rely on overtime to get by or pay for treats.

True

Shouldn't it be for them to decide?

How much “choice” do you think low-paid workers get at the moment? As a former low paid worker, let me tell you what *actually* happens. You get a contract of employment to sign and right next to it there’s a form to sign and you get told “you have to sign this, it says that you’re ‘allowed’ to work more that 48hrs.” If you don’t sign the form, you don’t get the job. Then you get given your shift pattern which has you working 60-odd hours every week. If you say you don’t want to do this - even for one week because, for example, a relative is coming to visit - you get handed your P45 and get told to find another job. You get another job and exactly the same thing happens. You soon learn that if you want any money at all, you’ll have to work long hours. How much CHOICE is there really? Wake up.

The employers who currently exploit their workers will continue to do so. They may cut wages because they need to employ more people to do the overtime that is not now being done.

This is why we have a minimum wage. They won’t cut wages, because they can’t.

This is just another way to dry fuck private sector employers

No, it’s a way to get private AND public sector employers to treat their employees fairly and with respect, something that some seem to be incapable of without this governmental intervention.

Public sector employees will still struggle to do 48 hours in a fortnight, but will probably go on strike about it anyway.

What are you on about? On Christmas Eve, I worked a 24hr shift without any sleep and finished at 08:00 Christmas Day. What were YOU doing on Christmas Eve? When was the last time that doctors or nurses went on strike? Stop being an idiot.

TheFatBigot

You’re right, this isn’t about doctors or lawyers. I’m going to ask you this though. Do you think low paid workers on £5.73/hr are in any sort of position to negotiate with their employers? How often do you think these “negotiations” happen and, generally, which side ends up better off? Think about it.

p.s. the BMA is not a trade union.

Having a legal limit to the number of hours an employee can be forced to work is one thing, to say he has no right to work longer is simply obscene.

How can you have one without the other? Please explain how you can have the former without the latter without the situation I described above in response to Mr Choos from happening. It would be great if you could come up with a solution because then we’ll be in a win-win situation.

Anon – at last a voice of reason. Is everyone else on this tread nuts? Do none of you think that 48 hours (9-5 for six days a week without breaks) is enough time to get your work done? Do none of you have a life or family and friends that you’d like to spend a bit of time with?

HenryNorthLondon

For a lot of low paid workers – there is NO choice at the moment. Do you think that if a factory gets a big order from Tesco, the supervisor says “anyone who wants to stay and work overtime can stay, anyone who doesn’t can go home”? You’re living in a fantasy world. There is often NO choice for employees, so stop saying that there is.

How many farmers do you think work just 48 hours a week?

Farmers are SELF-EMPLOYED. The legislation won’t apply to them. This isn’t about stopping ANYONE from working hard, it’s about stopping exploitation.

Anyway, regardless of differences opinion, I wish a Happy Christmas to one and all.

MARKY_UEA said...

What do you think of this vid/campagin?

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=UTxQ7xy7Ji4

Michael said...

Dr. michael Anderson

"If you want to work all day and all night, become self-employed "

Oh, thank you good sir. Thank you so much for showing me the way out of my misery. Become self employed! If only it were that easy.

I work in a pub at the moment. I am not able to work as many hours as I would like to (my boss isn't willing to offer me as many shifts as I would like to work-obviously this is his right) but in the past I have worked more than 48 hours a week. If I had the choice, I would probably want to work 50-60 hours a week (obviously more than the EU limit).

So since I can't get the shifts I want from my boss, and since no other pubs round my way are recruiting, I guess my only option is to become self employed. Would you mind telling me, where can I get the capital to buy my own pub? Failing that, could you please tell me which brewery chains are willing to hire 19 year olds as landlords? I'd quite like to know that. Since those who want to work can just become self employed, I'm sure there are lots you are aware of.

The simple fact is that there are many people who are unable to become self employed. The barrier might be financial. It might be because they don't have all the necessary skills (this is why almost all businesses have their staff specialise to some degree). It might be because they are adverse to the risk of self employment. These people should still be able to make a free contract if they can find somebody else willing to pay them.

If you offered me 55 hours a week of bar work, I would bite your hand off. I'm a reasonably bright guy, don't you dare try to patronise me by saying that I would be 'exploited' by accepting this offer.

You might very well be unwilling to work more than 48 hours a week. That is your prerogative, if you value leisure time more than I do, that's your decision. If you cannot work as a doctor without working more than 48 hours, then maybe you should look for employment elsewhere (you might need to accept lower wages).

Don't you bloody dare to tell me how much value I should place on my leisure time though. That's just as wrong as if I tried to introduce some law to mandate you to work more hours than you want to based on my own personal preferences.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Dr Michael Anderson,

What Michael said above. Additionally...

"If you want to work all day and all night, become self-employed and you are totally free to do so."

Are you aware of IR35? You are aware that there are substantial restrictions on who can be self-employed, aren't you?

If I do all of my work for one employer for more than, say, six months (very common in, say, the building or computer software indutries (the latter is that in which I work)), then I am considered to be purely employed by that firm and they must take me on as a full-time employee.

This is so that the government does not lose out on the 11% NICs from my salary and the 12.8% NICs that my employer must pay.

Are you aware of this? At all?

DK

Dr Michael Anderson said...

@Michael,

You don't get it do you? You wilfully ignored the main crux of my post and started wittering on about minutiae. Let me spell it out to you.

As things stand, THERE IS NO CHOICE

If your firm want you to work 60 hours a week and you don't want to for whatever reason (children, ill relatives, whatever), your only CHOICE is UNEMPLOYMENT. Sitting on the dole receiving government handouts. Is that really what you want?

You might very well be unwilling to work more than 48 hours a week. That is your prerogative, if you value leisure time more than I do, that's your decision.

Do I have a choice to work less than the 73hrs I worked over the Christmas week? Do I? Really? Is is really "my perogative?"

I've worked 60hrs a week on the minimum wage as a labourer and much longer than that as a doctor.

If you cannot work as a doctor without working more than 48 hours, then maybe you should look for employment elsewhere

You actually have no idea do you? You have no idea what I do. You think you have the right to tell me to give up my career? Jog on son.

Don't you bloody dare to tell me how much value I should place on my leisure time though.

Don't you see, by opposing the EWTD, YOU are bloody telling everyone else how much they should value their time away from work. As working mothers and carers of ill relatives will tell you, this isn't necessarily "leisure time."

That's just as wrong as if I tried to introduce some law to mandate you to work more hours than you want to based on my own personal preferences.

That's EXACTLY what a minority of churlish employers are doing up and down the country RIGHT now. Do you not understand. This is EXACTLY what the law is trying to prevent.

You say that people who work 50, 60, 70, 80, 90+ hours per week and don't want to should "negotiate their hours with their employers to get them cut" or "get another job that has fewer hours."

Well, equally, if people are saying they want to work more hours to earn more money, can't they just "negotiate their pay with their employers and get a payrise" or "get another job that pays more."

@DK

again you ignore my point about the current lack of choice in the workplace and that if people want to earn more money, shouldn't their focus be on improving their pay rates rather than on increasing their hours?

Both my parents are self employed and I've been self-employed myself in the past so i actually do know a fair bit about the rules

Regarding your point about contract length. You obviously think that 6 months working for someone doesn't make you an employee. Where would YOU draw the line? How long do you think it's reasonable to work for someone before you're regarded as an employee? 8 months? A year? Two years? Five years? I'm genuinely interested to know.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Dr Anderson,

"again you ignore my point about the current lack of choice in the workplace and that if people want to earn more money, shouldn't their focus be on improving their pay rates rather than on increasing their hours?"

Of course, if that is what is important to them. But you ignore my point about being happy to work longer because I want to.

Working is not all about money (at least not for me).

As for improving pay rates... well... as you point out, sometimes this just isn't possible without moving jobs. Simple as, I'm afraid.

The point is that people should be allowed to choose how long they work. I know that you probably view all employers as evil, exploitative bastards but none of mine have been at all. When I've worked extra hours, I have done it because I know that the company (and myself) will benefit from my doing so.

Most people at my current company work longer than required hours for no more pay. One works strictly 9 to 5.30. He will not lose his job (because he is good at it), but he is being steadily sidelined and others are being, effectively, promoted around him. Fine: that is the trade-off that he wishes to make: his spare time is more important to him than the position or (ultimately) money. That is his decision, but it is a decision that he should be free to make.

We all start off in not-so-good jobs, Michael. Right now, you are working silly hours (oh, excellent blogging by the way) but in a few years you will (almost certainly) be comfortably ensconced as a consultant (especially given the shortage of anaesthetists), earning what most people would consider to be a near unimaginable amount every year. You choose to make certain sacrifices to achieve this aim (and also because the more hours you have on the job, the better you will be at it (especially important in such a crucial position)).

But then, it also should be pointed out that your position is near-unique: you are working for a near-monopoly, something that I do not support. Further, you are working for an entity that has a monopoly on training. You do, literally, have nowhere else to go. This is not a normal work situation and is most certainly not one that I support, by the way.

"Both my parents are self employed and I've been self-employed myself in the past so i actually do know a fair bit about the rules"

Good, although the IR35 changes didn't kick in until (relatively) recently.

"Regarding your point about contract length. You obviously think that 6 months working for someone doesn't make you an employee. Where would YOU draw the line? How long do you think it's reasonable to work for someone before you're regarded as an employee? 8 months? A year? Two years? Five years? I'm genuinely interested to know."

It should be up to the employer and contractor. We should abolish NICs (which is, in any case, simply another income tax) and the problem would not arise.

There are advantages and disadvantages on both sides. Freelance contractors tend to be, per day, considerably more expensive to an employer, but then employees require holidays sometimes too. However, on the plus side, you get a better team spirit (very important) and you get the contractor's undivided attention.

To the contractor, having a secure income is often better than the up and down of freelancing, etc.

My point is that it should be a decision taken by employer and employee (or contractor) having weighed up the pros and cons in this particular case. It should be no business of the state's.

DK