Letter: Slavery was 'competitive'

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Your article on working hours, "No rest for the British" (4 August), makes one feel ashamed to live in a country whose government encourages slave labour and, from time to time, boasts about it. While opting out of virtually every progressive aspect of EU legislation, this government defends itself with cries of a need to be "competitive".

Have our European partners no equivalent needs? What is the real reason? The answer becomes patently clear when one hears, only in the last few days, a transport minister defending the fat railway cats' bonanza while at the same time threats are being issued of further erosion of workers' rights.

It is to be hoped that an incoming Labour government will reverse the Tory hostility towards the EU's more civilised approach to working conditions. I am sure many would applaud a clear statement to this effect.

Harry Karnac

Ruislip, Middlesex