In the good old days you could send someone down a mine for a week without a break and pay them tuppence. However, the working time directive and the minimum wage put an end to all of that. The minimum wage ensures that you pay most people at least half a pittance, and the working time directive stops you from making them work every hour of every day.
In fact, what the working time directive does is it forces employers to give employees a) a break every 6 hours, b) 11 hours off to sleep/eat, c) one day off a week, d) 4 weeks holiday a year, and e) not work more than 48 hours a week. All of this can be averaged over a reasonable period for shift workers too. Unless the employee chooses to opt out of any of those of course – the employee can choose to do overtime to boost their wages if they want. So it’s a pretty annoying law if you want to work your employees to death against their will.
All of this is courtesy of the EU, who for some reason think that the little people should count as people, and be protected from exploitation by unscrupulous employers. Fortunately David Cameron is going to fight the EU over this, and seek to get rid of workers rights. Mwhahaha.
If David Cameron succeeds, we can look forward to never seeing your friends and family, and a large increase in strokes and other illnesses as people are literally worked to death.