25/02/2005

Work your proper hours today, TUC says

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) is urging workers to work only their contracted hours and take a proper lunch break, to mark 'Work Your Proper Hours' day.

The TUC-organised event is taking place today, because February 25 would be the first day the average worker would start to get paid, if they worked all their unpaid overtime at the start of the year.

A TUC report found that the average long hours employee works an extra 7 hours 18 minutes of unpaid overtime per week. If they were paid for this extra work, the TUC said, it would be worth, on average, an extra £4,650 per year.

Londoners are the most likely to work the most unpaid overtime as well as the longest hours, the TUC found. Teachers, lecturers and many senior managers also work the longest hours out of all occupations, while long working hours are also the norm in the information technology, accountancy and law industries.

The TUC is calling on workers to go to work on time today, take a proper lunch and leave work when they are meant to, to mark the event. The TUC also recommends that bosses should say 'Thank You' to their staff, by ensuring that they only work their proper hours and perhaps even treat their staff to a coffee or cocktail after work.

Employees can also send their employer a 'bossagram' to remind their boss to recognise their employees' unpaid work. These can be arranged through the website at www.workyourproperhours.com

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: "We all know we work the longest hours in Europe. Work Your Proper Hours Day is a chance for the white collar workers who do the most unpaid overtime to take a stand for just one day a year, and point out just how much modern workplaces are gripped by a long hours culture. Today's campaigning is all very light-hearted. The figures show that managers themselves often work very long hours. Many of the staff involved have jobs they enjoy and involve real responsibility. But there is a serious point, and our aim is that today’s events should make every long hours workplace question their culture and the way they organise their work."

(KMcA/SP)

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