He made his comments after Liberal Democrat MEP Liz Lynne, who in June brought the Commissioner to the West Midlands, raised his visit to the company during a Q&A session on employment issues in the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Asked by Ms Lynne how the on-site discussions influenced his view on the British opt-out to the European Working Time Directive, the Commissioner replied that it was important to takeEurope’s diversity and sectoral differences into account if the Working Time Directive were to function properly. He also assured Ms Lynne that there was an ongoing dialogue betweenEurope’s social partners to ensure that essential services such as fire fighting, policing and health care could continue to be offered uninterruptedly.
Commenting after the session, which was modelled on the British Question Time to Government ministers, Ms Lynne, the First Vice President of European Parliament’s influential Employment Committee, said:
“It was very reassuring to hear that the Commissioner has taken on board the points raised at Bridgnorth Aluminium, in particular the need for flexible working hours.”
“I will continue to fight for flexible and legal working time arrangements that will allow people to work overtime whilst still being covered by health and safety rules.”
TheUK’s opt-out of the 48 hour limit in the EU Working Time Directive is currently being reviewed.