Working hours decision will 'have little effect on UK'
The EU Presidency's decision not to go ahead with plans to restrict Britain's right to opt-out of the Working Time Directive has been welcomed by a small business group.
The Forum of Private Businesses said that the decision kept the UK's labour market flexible for the time-being and that it was glad small firms could still opt-out.
European ministers were scheduled to meet to decide if the UK should be given the option not to follow the Working Time Directive, which limits the working week to 48 hours.
However, the Presidency only decided not to press ahead with the plans after some states said they would not agree to a compromise because there weren't enough restrictions, the organisation said.
The Trades Union Congress claimed that the decision would have little effect on working culture in the UK either way.
Research from the group found that only one-third of British workers work more than 48 hours a week, with many choosing to do so because of their type of job.
General secretary of the TUC Brendan Barber said: "The truth is that long hours working is already in decline - not fast enough for sure - but is still a marked trend, particularly in the private sector."