TUC uncovers modern-day Scrooges in UK workplaces

Employers who turn down the heating, take home staff presents or refuse to allow decorations are just a few examples uncovered by the TUC suggesting that many modern-day Scrooges are to be found in UK workplaces.

Last year when the TUC asked the nation’s workers to e-mail in their stories of mean bosses at Christmas, the most common complaints were about employers who forced staff who would normally be in work on the day on which Christmas Day falls, either to lose pay or make up the time at a later date.

Equally common were gripes from staff whose penny-pinching employers made them use a day from their statutory annual leave to cover the days off over the festive break.

But this could be the last year that employees have to take the Christmas bank holidays from their annual leave.

The government has promised to change the law so that full-time employees get the UK’s eight bank holidays in addition to the statutory minumum of 20 days’ leave.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “Christmas should be the time when bosses show a bit of gratitude for all the hard work their staff put in all year round and spread some Christmas cheer around their workplaces. But sadly this show of goodwill is beyond a minority of employers.”

Examples of Christmas ‘scroogery’ that UK workers emailed to the TUC last Christmas included:

  • Turning the heating off to save money when only a skeleton staff are working over the Christmas break.
  • Forcing staff who are usually at work the day that Christmas or New Year’s Day falls to make up the time or lose a day’s pay.
  • Counting the Christmas bank holidays as part of their employees’ four weeks of statutory leave.
  • Threatening staff who take a day off ill with the loss of their Christmas bonus.
  • Refusing to allow Christmas decorations to go up, cancelling the office party and not allowing staff any time to attend the office Christmas lunch.
  • Only paying staff at work on the Christmas bank holiday the same hourly rate that they earn the rest of the year.
  • Shredding Christmas cards sent to staff and taking home any presents received for themselves.
  • Giving presents to permanent employees but nothing to long-serving agency workers.

Employees who are keen to tell the TUC about their 2005 experiences of Ebenezer Scrooge and other Dickensian workplace practices can do so anonymously at www.worksmart.org.uk/scrooge


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