Fabian Demicoli

GRTU welcomes the Council Agreement on Working Time Directive and Temporary Agency Work

 GRTU together with EuroCommerce welcomes the political agreement reached yesterday on the longstanding issues of the Working Time Directive and Temporary Agency Work Directive at the Employment and Social Affairs Council in Luxembourg. GRTU agrees with the terms of the accord, which foresees a 12-month reference period to calculate the average 48-hours week. GRTU also regards as positive the compromise on temporary agency workers, which provides a satisfactory balance between flexibility and security through equal treatment.

"Finding a political agreement on such important and sensitive issues is indeed a plus for the commerce sector", declared EuroCommerce Secretary General Xavier Durieu. "It is clear that Europe needs rules on working time which will provide legal certainty on this delicate issue. As far as the agreement on temporary agency workers is concerned, it is a welcome practical implementation of the flexicurity approach."

GRTU particularly welcomes the introduction of the possibility for member states to calculate the average weekly working time over a 12-month reference period. This solution is well adapted to the needs of the commerce sector for flexibility. The compromise was also made possible by finding an acceptable solution to the issue of the "opt-out clause", which will be maintained and regulated.

An agreement has also been found on the issue of the "qualifying period" before the agency workers can benefit from the same basic working conditions as the staff recruited directly by the company.

Both dossiers will be transmitted to the European Parliament for the second reading. "We trust that MEPs will back the compromise proposals, thereby solving these delicate matters and providing both employers and employees with a stable legal framework", said Mr. Durieux.

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