Page last updated at 17:31 GMT, Monday, 1 September 2008 18:31 UK

Workplace unhappiness 'growing'

By Martin Shankleman
Business correspondent, BBC News

Crowded in-tray
Heavy workload is the single biggest grievance for employees

Underpaid, overworked, and fed up with work - those are the rising feelings of millions of employees, according to a new survey carried out by the TUC.

A survey of 2500 workers by pollsters YouGov, for the union movement, has suggested a mood of growing disenchantment in the workplace.

It painted a picture of workers having to work harder and longer while seeing their pay cut in real terms.

The TUC said the results would be "challenging" for employers.

Workload grievance

The TUC published the research ahead of its annual congress in Brighton next week.

While most employees are reasonably content with their lot, there is clearly a minority who are suffering from real problems
Brendan Barber, TUC general secretary

Nearly half of workers, or 42%, questioned believe they are now worse off because their pay has not kept pace with the rising cost of living.

And nearly a third, or 31%, feel they do not get the same pay as people doing similar jobs for other organisations.

But the commonest complaint concerns workloads, with 46% saying the amount of work asked of them has risen.

This, in turn, is linked to an increase in both stress levels (39%) and working hours (23%).

Training and progression are other key areas of grievance.

While 30% complained of poor promotion prospects, 27% - which if extrapolated to the whole of the working-age population would be equivalent to seven million people - said they lacked training.

Significant minorities of the workforce complain of serious problems.

14% of those asked - which, if extrapolated would be equivalent to three and a half million people or one in seven of the active workforce - say they have been bullied in their current job.

Staff engagement

If other findings are extrapolated, just under two and a half million say where they work is unsafe while more than one and half million say they have been unfairly disciplined.

Man with head in hands
One in seven people say they have been bullied in the office

The most commonly reported discrimination is on the grounds of age which is complained of by 640,000.

Nearly six million say they suffer from boring or repetitive work.

"There are some challenging figures here for British employers," said TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber, "with a quarter of the workforce saying they are not satisfied with their jobs and almost one in three saying that their employers do not engage with them".

"While most employees are reasonably content with their lot, there is clearly a minority who are suffering from real problems such as bullying, dangerous workplaces and unfair discrimination.

"There may be no magic bullet for improving Britain's productivity, but without engaging staff and providing the training and advancement opportunities they want we do not have much chance".




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