The UK has successfully defended attempts to scrap the opt-out clause from the EU Working Time Directive.

At a meeting in Brussels yesterday, the UK joined forces with eight European countries including Germany, Italy and Ireland to form a ‘blocking minority’ and prevent the clause from being scrapped.

The European Working Time Directive, which was enforced in 1993, limits the working week to 48 hours but the UK signed up to an opt-out clause allowing employees to work more than 48 hours if they choose to.

However, last month the European Parliament voted to scrap the opt-out clause.