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Keep working time opt-out, say quarriers

MATERIALS

QUARRIERS representative body the British Aggregates Association has called on the Government to maintain the UK opt-out of European working time rules.

In a letter to the secretary of state for trade and industry Jacqui Smith, BAA director Bob Durward said the Government should do more to help UK aggregate producers before they were overrun by imports.He highlighted several problems that could increase imports.

He said: 'We are of the opinion that the cumulative effect of individual problems such as the working time directive, the cost of plant fuel, road transport and the aggregates levy will make large sectors of our market extremely susceptible to import substitution.'

Mr Durward said the European working time directive, which sets limits on the number of hours an operative can work, did not fit the practicalities of the quarrying industry and claimed that some of the dimension stone market had already been lost to imports from Spain, Portugal and China.