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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Fighting for bare chests

When a press release proclaiming 'Victory For Bare-Chested Workers - Lynne' popped into my in-box, I naturally went out of my way to read it. Well, you would, wouldn't you?

It is clearly the most bizarre press release of the month, much more off the wall than the one issued previously from Lembit Opik's office in which the MP reaffirmed 'his commitment to community dialogue over by-pass without interference from outside.' This last release contained the news that Lembit had taken his neighbouring MP over a by-pass site in his light aircraft, not a tool available to most campaigners.

Liz Lynne's press release revealed that the decision on whether bare-chested builders and other outdoor workers will have to cover up has been left to national governments after a vote in the European Parliament. MEPs apparently backed a compromise negotiated by the Liberal Democrat MEP, who acts as the shadow rapporteur for something called the Optical Radiation Directive, to allow member states to decide whether to introduce the anti-sun directive. And quite right too!

Liz is quoted as saying, "This is a victory for common sense, it is no business of the EU to decide whether workers can wear shorts and be bare-chested. I wanted to take natural radiation out of the directive completely but we now have the next best thing, leaving it up to Member States, to decide whether they legislate or not, all other references to natural radiation have been taken out.

"A sensible directive to protect workers from artificial radiation could have been ruined by the ludicrous proposal to legislate on the sun. Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy.

"All people should be made aware of the dangers of the sun, but to tell employers to do this is taking the nanny knows best mentality too far".

Well, yes. But why were the European Parliament even discussing such an issue and should nanny be let loose in the member states at all? It is a sad time indeed when a decision by workers as to whether to keep their shirts on or not should be subject to European health and safety legislation. Surely, there are other ways to educate workers as to the risks, whilst at the same time protecting the rest of us from the sight of all that bare flesh.
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