Union campaign to make EU working time directive reality

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Series Details Vol.7, No.46, 13.12.01, p32
Publication Date 13/12/2001
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Date: 13/12/01

By Martin Banks

A CAMPAIGN will be launched in the New Year to ensure that all member states comply with the EU working time directive.

Although the directive was adopted as long ago as 1993, the European Public Service Union (EPSU) claims it still has not been fully implemented in some of the member states.

The federation, which represents more than 10 million workers across the European Union, is now gearing up to launch an awareness campaign aimed at highlighting the problem.

Posters, brochures and a special website will be used to underline the union's message. EPSU policy adviser Inger Lise Ronning said the initiative was aimed at ensuring that key personnel, such as health professionals, are not made to work excessive hours.

She said: "It is staggering to think that eight years after the directive was introduced some EU member states have still not properly implemented the directive.

"The Nordic countries will have a special part to play in the campaign as they have largely achieved, and often exceeded, the requirements of the directive."

The directive, which was supposed to have become national law in member states by 1996, states than no one should be required to work more than 48 hours a week.

At a conference held in Brussels yesterday (12 December), the union called on EU leaders meeting at Laeken this weekend to put public services at the top of their agenda.

EPSU general secretary Carola Fischbach-Pyttel said quality public services were the "key" to a strong European Union.

"Laeken will focus on defence and justice. There is a certain irony in having a defence emphasis while forgetting what must be defended," she added.

The union's awareness campaign on the working time directive will be launched on 14 February.

A campaign will be launched on 14 February 2002 by the European Public Service Union (EPSU) to ensure that all Member States comply with the EU working time directive.

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