«The GUE/NGL Group is radically opposed to and completely rejects the Council’s reactionary Common Position, which is supported by the Commission,» said Greek GUE/ MEP Dimitris Papadimoulis during the debate on the revision of the Working Time Directive in the European Parliament this evening.


If implemented, the directive would make a flexible 65-hour working week the norm and time spent on call for medical and other workers would be considered as non-working time.


«You are putting back the clock of history by 90 years,» MEP Papadimoulis said addressing Council and the Commission, calling the proposal «anti-social and anti-people». The Commission and Council should be listening to the European trade unions and the European Medical Association instead of employers «who are pulling the strings», he said.  «The struggle against this anti-social package will continue both inside and outside the European Parliament,» he warned.


Roberto Musacchio (GUE/NGL Italy) described the Council’s position as a «coup» and called a 65-hour working week both ludicrous and unacceptable. «The opt-out and individual derogations are now going to be generalised and this is taking flexibility to the extreme» he said.  «With so many unemployed workers, this is tantamount to provocation,» he added.


«The European Parliament should be listening to the workers who will be expressing their opposition to the directive in the demonstration to take place in Strasbourg tomorrow. MEPs should do all in their power to maintain the institution’s sovereignty,» he concluded.


«The main aim of this proposal is to devaluate work, increase the possibility of making more profit for employers and financial groups by way of average weekly working time of 60 to 65 hours, lower wages and the introduction of the concept of «inactive» working time,» said MEP Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL, Portugal).


«The proposal calls into question everything that has been achieved on the reconciliation of work and family life and is a step backwards of about one hundred years in the hard-won struggle for workers’ rights. This is why we reject this shameful position by the European Council.»



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