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Retained Firefighters

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 4 February 2009

15. To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with Ministerial colleagues for the purposes of agreeing the UK’s position in EU discussions on the effect on retained firefighters in Scotland of an end to the voluntary opt-out from the provisions of the EU working time directive. (253073)

There have been no specific discussions. However, the UK Government will continue to work with the Scottish Government on this matter. Protecting communities across Scotland, and the UK, is our top priority.

The amendments to the Common Position voted by the European Parliament on 17 December are the latest step in a complex negotiation. Implementation of the working time directive, by setting a 48-hour maximum to the working week, would greatly reduce the hours which firefighters working the retained duty system could be available for duty. The UK Government therefore place great importance on retaining their opt-out from the directive.