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Last Updated: Monday, 24 November, 2003, 00:24 GMT
Britons 'work 23bn unpaid time'
People working in an office
Britons lose "billions" in overtime
UK workers will put in more than 23 billion of unpaid overtime this year, according to a new report.

The TUC said around five million people work an average of seven hours and 24 minutes without pay every week - worth 4,500 a year.

Using official statistics, it said that 1.5 million managers were working unpaid overtime.

Professional staff were averaging nine hours 36 minutes a week extra, worth 9,000 a year, the union said.

The research showed that 150,000 craft workers were averaging an extra six hours a week, worth 3,000 and 70,000 plant and machine operatives were doing an additional five hours 36 minutes of unpaid work which should give them over 2,000 a year.

The TUC has launched an online calculator to show people the hours they should work and what they lose in unpaid overtime.

Management questioned

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "Britons work the longest hours in Europe, and these figures show that much of it is unpaid overtime.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber
Is it any wonder that top jobs are still dominated by men, when managers have to do an extra day's unpaid work each week?
Brendan Barber
"We're not saying we should turn into a nation of clock-watchers, or that no-one should put in extra work when there's an emergency or a rush of orders, but many people are clearly putting in the equivalent of an extra day every week.

"Is it any wonder that top jobs are still dominated by men, when managers have to do an extra day's unpaid work each week?

"When employers quote dubious figures about the costs of what they call red tape, and everyone else calls basic rights at work, do they remember their staff put in billions of pounds worth of unpaid extra work each year?

"Given that workers in much of the rest of Europe work fewer hours, yet produce and earn more, are there not hard questions to ask about the quality of UK managers?"

Picture 'skewed'

But John Cridland, deputy director general of the CBI said: "The TUC is painting a skewed picture of employee attitudes to working time to get more pay for its members.

The fact is most people do extra hours because they want to.
John Cridland

"In reality the unions not only dislike unpaid overtime, they also want to limit paid overtime by removing the right to opt out of the working time directive.

"Whether paid or not, the message seems to be 'we know best' on the number of hours people should work.

"The fact is most people do extra hours because they want to."

The TUC published the figures as part of its campaign for the Government to end its opt-out from a European directive aimed at limiting hours to 48 per week.




SEE ALSO:
Employers 'breach long-hours rules'
07 Sep 03  |  Business
Workers of the world compared
01 Sep 03  |  Business
UK's long hours culture 'a myth'
26 May 03  |  Business


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