READERS may recall that in 2008 MEPs – joined by local Labour MEP Linda McAvan – voted to scrap the UK’s opt-out of the EU Working Time Directive’s 48-hour limit to the working week.

Fortunately, sustained pressure from Conservative MEPs at the time caused their efforts to fail. However, once again, we could be about to see another effort to undermine our right to choose.

The European Commission has proposed a new review of the Working Time Directive which will inevitably bring it back before the Parliament.

Any such review should start from the position that people who want to work should not be told by a politician in Brussels that they cannot.

Three million British people make use of our opt-out which was negotiated by the last Conservative government.

Without it our economy would be less competitive, our public services more expensive and people would be stopped from making extra money for themselves and their families.

Therefore, I call on Ms McAvan to come clean now and tell the voters of Yorkshire and The Humber whether she will back British workers and vote to scrap the directive or back the Trade Unions and vote to remove our right to choose.

Timothy Kirkhope,

MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber and leader of the Conservatives in the European Parliament

Nature of the beast

I READ with some interest and no little amusement the comments by Dr Andrew Mycock and Clr Mehboob Khan in the article about the splitting of Kirklees.

Dr Mycock seems to get bogged down on the name of the beast and not its nature. Clr Khan praises our role in the Leeds City Region but from his earlier comments concerning the famous ‘bus lane to nowhere’ I thought we were in competition with Leeds and Bradford.

While it would be nice to have an area’s identity recognised politically, this is not the issue. Rather it is the size of the area that is the problem. It leads to such concerns as councillors from Dewsbury making planning decisions in areas they have only heard about or seen photographs of.

They have no connection with other districts and we, therefore, have no accountability. I, for example, can not vote out of office someone who does not represent the Colne Valley.

What benefits have we shared since Kirklees’ birth?

In one sense it doesn’t matter about the name. What matters is the quality of the people running the council and I fear that here we have been short-changed.

It would make more sense to split the monster in two and lose some of the well-salaried executives and their equally well-salaried managers. It would be worth the cost.

Trevor Woolley


Our own ‘twin towers’

WITH longevity in the family there is no reason to believe that the Queen will not survive for another two years and emulate her forebear who was the reason for the construction of the existing tower on Castle Hill.

There is less than two years for those concerned to come up with a design that will meet with the approval of the majority of the people who would like some amenities to be provided on the hill.

How big it is would depend on what was included in the building, but we would end up with our own ‘twin towers’, not necessarily the same size.

Arthur Marson


Square dance

It COULD only happen in 21st century Huddersfield.

We spend more than £4m making our station square more difficult for rail users to access and egress and now we suddenly find in yet another new report (Examiner, April 5) that the number of rail travellers has increased by 18.5% to 3.4 million in those square-bashing years 2005-2009!

The answer? Make the booking hall bigger but we must make room outside for the continental market and the Spanish dancers!

A few handrails and a modern ramp for the elderly and disabled wouldn’t go amiss either.



Barrier to the disabled

I AM writing in response to the Examiner report ‘Barrier system for infirmary car park’ (April 2).

Has no one from the Health Authority thought of people visiting the hospital who have a disability?

I have cerebral palsy and often visit the HRI. My disability means that I have limited movement with my right hand. Having to take a ticket from the machine or push a button is impossible for me and once I’m in there I’ve got the stress of finding a space and getting back out again!

What do I do? I like to lead a independent life like anyone else but these barriers just disable me even more and make me very frustrated!

Julie Kendall


Dispelling sicknote myths

A RECENTLY-conducted survey by the TUC discovered that one in five public workers turned into work during the past month – of one of the coldest winters for 30 years – despite being poorly (‘Sicknote’ culture in NHS is a myth, Nursing Times, March 29).

Another recent report (GMTV, March 29) of the findings of an earlier survey – using a wider cross section of UK workers (Tickbox, February 2007) – showed that 95% have admitted to struggling into work when ill.

The reasons include people actually like to work, they need the money to pay the bills, fear losing their jobs during a recession or to avoid the disapproval of bosses and support fellow workers.

It seems that people are not as work shy, or throw as many ‘sickies’ as is often suggested.

Why is it, then, always the very first assumption that people with ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) are lazy and don’t want to work when it is contrary to the national trend and when they had previously had a good attendance record at work or school before ME?

These studies should help dispel this myth once and for all and have doctors and researchers focusing on the organic cause of this dreadfully disabling neurological illness which keeps so many people who are willing, but not able, hidden from view and being an active part of society as they long to be again.

Dr John H Greensmith


And that’s not hall!

AN article in the Examiner on April 2 on the history of Queensgate Market Hall gives the impression that the old Market Hall had to be demolished to make way for the present one.

This was not the case. The present Market Hall is built on the site of the old Huddersfield Borough Police Station, Fire Station and Vehicle Licensing Department.

John Sykes


Pooled resources

SO there is a ban on adults changing with children at Scissett Baths.

If there is such a problem, why did councils get rid of separate changing cubicles?

There has to be a halt to all this phobia about paedophilia. My question is what was a female teacher doing in a boys’ changing room?

Either use common sense or build swimming pools attached to schools and make those schools without a pool share with those who do. Problem solved.



In the money

I AM sure many people like me would like to know who decided these ridiculous wages that are being paid to the top council staff.

Also, why when someone leaves their job should there be a discretionary payment of £62,611.28? That is far more than most people earn in two years.

Come on councillors, get a grip.

J Blackburn


Noises of war

OVER the weekend President Obama and US secretary of state Hilary Clinton were interviewed for TV regarding Iran.

Hilary told us there is “a growing international awareness on the consequences of nuclear armed Iran to regional and global stability and oil supply.’’ In a separate interview Obama assured us that “no options have been taken off the table’’ over Iran.

Iran’s president Mr Ahmadinejad is, it seems, in a bit of a fix.

Much US rhetoric, massive American bases in Afghanistan to the East, Iraq to the West, and warships in the Persian Gulf below.

Whatever his motives, this is has the makings of another oil war to donate your sons and daughters to. Iran will not be the pushover that Iraq was.

Anthony Redman