Thursday, January 04, 2007
UK Workers Lose 23 Billion Pounds In Overtime
Our Anglophone brothers and sisters overseas are nearly as exploited as American workers. According to a report published by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), workers in the UK lost 23 billion pounds (more than 44 billion dollars) in unpaid overtime in 2005, amounting to an average of 4,800 pounds (more than $9,200). In some parts of the UK, such as Northeast England, London, Eastern England, the West Midlands, Yorkshire and Northern Ireland, workers put in more than seven hours of unpaid overtime a week. The report "calculated that if employees did all their unpaid work at the start of the year, the first day they would be paid would be February 23."
TUC official Brendan Barber says, "We still work the longest hours in Europe and too many workplaces are gripped by a long hours culture." The average full-time worker in the UK works 43.5 hours, compared with 38.2 in France and 39.9 in Germany. Many employers in the UK strive to make their employees feel obligated to work longer hours, sometimes even ignoring the 48 hour weekly limit mandated by the British government. Interestingly, both France and Germany are more productive than the UK. The TUC blames overwork for "spiralling absence rates due to sickness, poor productivity and increased levels of stress, especially among white-collar workers." According to a TUC spokesman, "Long hours are a very real hazard. Working excessive hours increases the risk of injury and mortality, heart disease, stress, depression, diabetes mellitus, serious headaches and bowel problems." One in five male workers visit the doctor each year because of stress in the UK - one in four above the age of 40.
TUC urges workers to put in only their regular hours on February 23, then "take a decent lunch break and go home on time". The organization intends this to be a day of protest that they will call "Work Your Proper Hours Day".
"Britons lose billions in working overtime for no payment" from The Herald
"Britons work longest in Europe" from This is money.co.uk
"Northeast England's workers claim top spot in unpaid overtime league" from the The Guardian