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Workers do day a week unpaid overtime, shock figures reveal

PUBLISHED: 16:20 06 January 2009 | UPDATED: 13:56 05 October 2010

WORKERS have been giving their bosses at least a day a week in unpaid overtime—even before the recession set in. Around 820,000 employees in London alone worked unpaid overtime totalling £6.4 billion in the last 12 months, trade union researchers have found

By Mike Brooke

WORKERS have been giving their bosses at least a day a week in unpaid overtime—even before the recession set in.

Around 820,000 employees in London alone worked unpaid overtime totalling £6.4 billion in the last 12 months, trade union researchers have found.

That would mean an extra £7,850 a year each on average if they were paid for the extra hours they are putting in, according to an analysis of official statistics published by the TUC this week.

The average in London is seven hours 54 minutes a week, the highest in the UK—almost an hour more than the rest of the South East and nearly two hours more than workers in the North East, for example.

London also had the biggest increase in people working unpaid overtime—79,000 more in 2008 than the year before, while falling in the rest of the South East by 26,000.

“This unpaid overtime is disappointing,” said TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber. “The recession will now be making workers scared of losing their job and joining the ever-growing dole queue.

“Inevitably they’ll be putting in extra hours if they think it can help against redundancy or to keep their boss in business.”

Some of the unpaid overtime is due to the long hours culture’ that still dogs many British firms, the TUC points out.

If workers did all their unpaid work at the start of the year, it is calculated, the first day they would get their wages would not be until February 27.


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