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2005年06月08日 格林尼治標準時間10:31北京時間 18:31發表
新聞用語 - 歐盟工作周

工會人士稱延長工作時間會增加壓力

BBC中文網的【新聞用語】英語教學系列是【時事英語】的續版。

【新聞用語】每星期就一個新聞時事話題,挑選一些報導和分析,講解英語的疑難點,幫助各位通過BBC的英語新聞和時事報導與分析來學習英語。

英語新聞報導原文Words in the News一般是星期五在網上發表。


EU Working Time Directive

European Union ministers have failed to agree on changes to the Working Time Directive which would have ended Britain's opt-out from the forty-eight hour limit on the working week. The government had argued that scrapping the exemption would have been deeply unhelpful to Britain and other member states. This report from John Moylan: :

收聽原文報道

The Working Time Directive enshrines people's rights in the workplace. It defines the length of the maximum working week, the length of breaks and annual leave.

But Britain negotiated an opt-out from the directive. Firms can ask staff to work longer hours and staff have the right to say yes or no. The CBI claims a third of UK firms use the opt-out, but now many more countries use it too, following a series of European legal rulings which threatened to heap excessive costs on national health systems.

These proposals would have scrapped the opt-out by 2012, although member states could have asked for it to be extended. The government felt that was not acceptable. It was represented here by Alan Johnson, Secretary of State at the Department of Trade and Industry. He said other countries felt the same way.

Britain had hoped for sufficient support to form a blocking minority against the proposal. In the end, no vote was taken. Some reports suggested the opposing sides were in fact evenly balanced.

The matter now returns to the European parliament which recently voted to scrap the opt-out altogether. If a solution to the opt-out issue can be found, it is unlikely to be until well into next year.


Key words

opt-out
決定退出,免除

exemption
豁免﹔例外

enshrines
規定(并)維護

legal rulings
法律裁決

to heap
累積﹔增加

scrapped
廢棄

a blocking minority
阻止(提議獲得通過)的少數派

evenly balanced
達到平衡,勢均力敵

well into next year
至少要到明年以後了



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