NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Labor Dispute In European Union

November 25, 1996

European officials want Great Britain to adopt the kind of labor policies which for years have hobbled continental European economies. While unemployment in the rest of Europe in near double-digit levels, Great Britain's has fallen over the past four years to 7.2 percent.

  • Now the EU wants Britain to impose a rule that workers cannot work more than 48 hours a week -- even though few now do so.
  • More importantly, the rule would require a minimum of four weeks of holiday per year for workers -- for reasons of "health" and "safety."
  • There are other requirements concerning worker breaks, rest periods and night shifts.

The rules are being pushed primarily by Germany and France. Labor experts say such rules make it harder for those with marginal skills -- the young, new labor force entrants, minorities and immigrants -- to find work.

Source: Perspective, "The Eurocrats Strike Again," Investor's Business Daily," November 25, 1996.


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