Which of these basic rights does David Cameron hate so much?

29th January, 2013 10:30 am

I’ve been meaning to write a piece over the last week on what Cameron really means when he talks about “repatriation” of powers from the EU. What Cameron seems to have in his sights is the “Social Chapter” and in particular Europe-wide protection for workers that ensures that they get pesky things like annual holiday entitlements, limited time off each week and aren’t forced to work dangerously long hours. You know, draconian stuff like that…

Of course the only reason you’d want to repatriate rights would be to abolish them, meaning that millions of British workers will lose some of their most basic workplace rights.

So which of these rights does Cameron hate so much?

whydoescameronhatetheworkingtimedirective

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  • JoeDM

    My working time is a matter between me and my employer.

    Its not the job of the State to tell me how many hours I can or cannot work.

    • Chilbaldi

      And what would your employer offer you if he had no obligation to uphold any rights that you now have?

      You may have a decent bargaining position, have a degree or the like, so can extract more favourable conditions from your employer, but what about those who have no position to bargain from?

      Are you suggesting we lord it over them and they have no security and/or poor working conditions? Firstly is this moral, secondly how productive would such an unhappy workforce be?

      • JoeDM

        If you don’t like it you find another job.

        • Redshift1

          Because that’s well easy at the moment isn’t it? Cretin.

        • Monkey_Bach

          And if you’re sick you can always get well under your own steam can’t you? Eeek.

          • Alexwilliamz

            There’s always the workhouse, or prostitution.

          • Monkey_Bach

            Well, not being an attractive enough simian to make much money as a prostitute it’ll be the workhouse for me I suppose. Or possibly a career in crime! Stand and deliver! Your bananas or your life! Eeek.

      • charles.ward

        If the government decided that benefits could not be withdrawn from someone who refused a job without these minimum working conditions then that would be one thing. But why, if I agree to a different set of conditions with my employer, should the state stop me (except in the case where this would likely cause harm to others)?

        • Chilbaldi

          Because in those circumstances you would undoubtedly cause harm to others. There would be a race to the bottom on employment rights, particularly in the current economic climate, where employees would volunteer fewer rights in order to secure the job.

          • charles.ward

            The “bottom” is not a job with fewer rights, it’s no job at all. Which is what happens when an employee who does not have the skills to justify a job with great working conditions cannot negotiate reduced conditions in return for a job. But the TUC does not represent the unemployed, of course.

          • Chilbaldi

            I can see we are going to disagree that we owe fellow humans dignity in their employment.

          • charles.ward

            We also owe the unemployed the dignity of employment.

            I don’t blame the TUC for standing up for the rights of those in work, but we must remember that these sort of legally enfored workers rights puts up the cost of employing people and prevents some workers from getting on the employment ladder.

            If someone want to take a job with only 3 weeks of holiday a year in order to get experience and avoid long term unemployment why should the state keep them unemployed?

          • Monkey_Bach

            Working for a pittance while being treated all the while like a dogsbody is not a dignified state of existence as far as most members of humanity are concerned. I may be a monkey but even I know that. Eeek.

          • Alexwilliamz

            How do you decide what is fit for a homo sapien, just because it would be considered animal exploitation should not mean a person could not choose to exercise their free will in taking on such conditions. Yeah and I did mean person=human, I’m a speciesist and proud of it. Now back into your cage monkey.

    • Redshift1

      Of course. Let’s bring back child labour, scrap the minimum wage, scrap all health and safety, etc. Bring back the 14-hour day!

      I worry for humanity sometimes….

      • Monkey_Bach

        Are you sure JoeDM IS human. Eeek.

    • Monkey_Bach

      If I needed to see a vet or a doctor, or be operated on by a surgeon, or ride on a bus, train, or fly overseas in an aeroplane, or pick up a prescription at a chemist’s… and so on and so forth… I would be very unhappy indeed if the person (vet, doctor, surgeon, driver, pilot, pharmacist, whatever) attending to my needs had been on their feet for the last eighteen hours, non-stop, even if they had personally negotiated to work such hours on a one-to-one basis with their employer. Eeek.

  • Silly question – he hates all of them.

  • JC

    What makes you think he hates them? He may believe that they create a level of inflexibility for employers, which may lead to a lack of job creation, but hate?

  • uglyfatbloke

    Cameron really wants us to have certain freedoms— but chiefly the freedom to do as we are told.
    OTH, the Working Hours Directive (though well-intentioned in my opinion) is a bit of a blunt instrument. There are occupations where it would just be ludicrously impractical; Does anyone really think that you could change a concert tout crew in the middle of each week? Like it or not, LDs, noise boys, tour managers, instrument techs and riggers all have to be able to do as much as 100 hours a week (sometimes even more) to make the shows work. That;s not the case for every show but when that’s what is needed there really is not a choice and I would have thought there are other occupations where similar requirements apply.

    • Redshift1

      An understandable and fair point because the detail of this doesn’t tend to be publicised but under the work time directive it isn’t a limit in any individual week but averaged out. The limit is also a contractual limit – you can choose to work more, just not be forced to. I personally work well over 48 hours a week quite often, but it’d average out there or there abouts on 48 hours. I still consider that long hours. I think really the question is whether it is enough.

  • uglyfatbloke

    Good point Redshift; I, for one, had n’t fully understood that, and I doubt if I’m alone.

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