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Annie Hayes



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Numbers working over 48 hours a week climbs to 3.3 million


Official statistics show that an extra 180,000 people are now working more than 48 hours a week.

The analysis, included in a new Trades Union Congress (TUC) report – The Return of the Long Hours Culture – has found that the number of people working long hours has increased at a faster rate over the last year than the decline in excessive working between 1998 and 2006.

The analysis finds that 85% of new long hours workers are male. Regionally, the sharpest increases in long hours working occurred in the East of England (up 2.1 percentage points) and London (up 2 percentage points).

The TUC report argues that the recent increase in the number of people working long hours is due to the challenging economic climate, which has made employers more reluctant to recruit new staff and instead work existing employees harder.

In order to reverse the growth of long hours working, the TUC is calling for a stronger Working Time Directive (WTD) to protect employees.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “After slow but steady progress over the last decade, long hours working is making its way back into Britain’s workplaces. Employees across the UK already work the longest hours in Western Europe and the recent increase will mean lower productivity, more stress and less time to have a life outside the office with friends and family.”

Employment ministers from across Europe will discuss the WTD at the EU Social Affairs Council meeting on 9 and 10 June.

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Annie Hayes


Read more from Annie Hayes

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