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Work Your Proper Hours Day

28 February 2013

Tomorrow has been designated by the TUC as ‘Work Your Proper Hours Day’! Why? Because over 5 million British workers regularly do unpaid overtime, giving employers free work that in 2011 was valued at a staggering £29.2 billion!

Proper Hours Day 2013


TSSA has just carried out a survey to find out how big the problem is in the industries in which the union organises. The results are startling!

Only 6% don’t work any overtime Of the remaining 93%, two thirds (65%) undertake overtime which is mainly or wholly unpaid. Over half of those are doing so every week! 18% of those responding to the survey average a 6 day week, and 19.5% work between 10 and 20 hours overtime in an average week.

16.1% of respondents don’t take all of their leave entitlement, working whole days for free. 69.8% are checking work email/texts in their own time (43.1% OFTEN do). 66% of respondents skip lunch or eat at their desk. No wonder that 38.3% say their workload is excessive!

Long hours are not good for us – they cause stress, and wreck personal relationships. Fatigue undermines safety. Burnt out staff don’t perform well.

Overtime suvey graph


It is no surprise that TSSA health and safety reps have identified working hours and stress as the key issues for them.

TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes commented: "these are worrying figures, especially when the McNulty Report wants to close 750 booking offices and axe thousands of jobs to achieve savings of more than £1 billion at Network Rail over the next few years.

"A culture of longer hours and a demoralised and reduced staff will have long term implications for the safety of our railways. A properly staffed railway will be a much safer railway. We are top of the TUC league when it comes to unpaid overtime and that has got to change".

TSSA members are invited to reflect on how well or badly they are doing when it comes to their work/life balance. So why not join with thousands of trade unionists up and down the country and tomorrow, just for once, take the breaks you are entitled to, and go home on time. See how it feels!

Have a look at the TUC's ‘Work Your Proper Hours Day’ website and see the ‘long hours clinic’ and the balance check section for advice on your own situation.

‘Work Your Proper Hours Day’ for 2013 has been set by the TUC for 1 March on the basis that this is the point in the year when the average worker stops working for free and starts getting paid for their labours! Your own may come earlier or later, depending on the hours you work above your contracted hours.

There was a fantastic response to TSSA's Working Hours Survey 2013, with nearly 1300 completing it. The results will now be analysed in detail, and members will then be consulted on how TSSA reps tackle the issues with their employers. For members that missed the survey, there will be another chance to take part as the survey has now been reopened. Clearly, TSSA needs as much data as possible on this vital issue. So please take part if you haven’t already, and get your colleagues to do so as well (including those not in TSSA).

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