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Quarriers lobby for work time opt-out

MATERIALS

QUARRYMEN are lobbying the Government to introduce a get-out clause in working time rules.

They want the Department for Transport to introduce a derogation from the Working Time Directive for the aggregates industry.

Industry body the British Aggregates Association has written to the Secretary of State for Transport Alistair Darling in a lastditch bid to help the sector duck the legislation.

It claimed the industry would be forced to put up aggregate prices and face losing business to imported aggregate if the legislation remained in place.

Under the Working Time Directive employees in some industries have the ability to opt out of the regulations but the road transport industry opt-out is to be withdrawn in March, forcing drivers to work shorter hours and increasing costs.

The association's director Bob Durward claimed that aggregate prices could rise by up to 30 per cent because of the legislation.

He said: 'The net result will be to increase the delivered price of UK produced aggregates and we are extremely concerned about our ability to compete against imported aggregates.'

But rival industry body the Quarry Products Association said the industry was ready for the legislation.

A spokesman said: 'The industry is better prepared for the directive than indicated.

Calling for derogation at this late stage is completely unrealistic and demonstrates little understanding of the issue.'