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Working Time Directive talks end without agreement


BRUSSELS, Belgium—Talks on proposed amendments to the opt-out clause from the European Union's Working Time Directive have ended without agreement.

The E.U.'s Employment and Social Affairs Council failed to reach an agreement on proposals put forward by Finland that would tighten up the use of an opt-out to the directive.

The directive limits the hours that employees can be made to work to 48 hours per working week. But in 2005, an opt-out was introduced to enable workers that wished to work longer hours to do so.The Confederation of British Industry, which represents employers in the United Kingdom, said that while it supported the protection of workers' rights, it was important that workers who wished to work longer than the 48-hour-week be able to do so.

The European Trade Union Confederation expressed disappointment at the failure of the talks, which it described as a "bad signal for European workers."