New analysis published by the Trades Union Congress shows that more than 30,000 workers in the North East are at high risk of being forced to work excessive hours in the event of a vote to leave the European Union.
The analysis suggests that the Working Time Directive, part of EU law since 1998, has ensured that only just over 100,000 workers are working for more than 48 hours a week in the North East, compared to a potential 135,000 if the UK were to vote to leave the EU.
Some campaigners to leave the EU have stated that they wish to scrap the working time directive. They included Ukip, Economists for Brexit and many politicians, including Boris Johnson.
Frances O’Grady, the TUC’s General Secretary, said ““Working people’s rights are on the line in this referendum – and working time protections are particularly at risk.
“Brexit campaigners have made no secret of their wish to scrap working time protections. If they get their way, the 48 hour limit will be gone and your boss will be able to force you to work 60 or 70 hour weeks.
“The only way working people can be sure of keeping their rights at work is to stay in the EU. Nobody knows exactly how bad things could get for workers’ rights outside of the EU, but the legal experts are all saying it will be worse.”