[Sinn Fein]

12 November 1996

European ruling on 48 hour working week welcomed

Sinn Fein Northern Chairperson Gerry O'hEara has welcomed the European ruling which makes illegal the British government's policy of encouraging the right of an employer to enforce a working week of more than 48 hours.

Councillor O'hEára said:

``This news will be welcomed by thousands of workers who have had to endure increasingly stringent work practices foisted on them by many employers. Access to holidays, rest breaks and other basic entitlements have, until now, been denied to many employees. These rights are standard practice for most other European countries.

``The British government's continuing refusal to advocate fair working conditions highlights a business ethos which seeks the primacy of profit and which turns employees into nothing more than a tool to achieve these ends.

``We call on MEP's to lobby their counterparts in the European Parliament to have full-time employee rights extended to the ever growing part-time workforce. This would stop the increasing practice of employers reducing the numbers of full time employees, thus shirking their responsibility for paying benefits such as pensions, holiday premiums etc.''

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