Unpaid overtime makes unlikely bedfellows of finance and garage workers

Finance staff and garage workers are among those doing the most unpaid overtime hours during the recession, the TUC has claimed.

The union’s analysis of UK working hours, The Long Hours Culture, published on Friday, estimated that 5.24 million people worked unpaid overtime in January, doing an average of seven hours six minutes extra each week. But the study found there were significant fluctuations in different industries.

Those working in research and development increased unpaid overtime the most in 2008 compared with 2007, while insurance staff’s work dipped. Agricultural workers who did unpaid overtime were putting in an extra 13 days worth of free work per month compared with Autumn 2007. Other big increases include those working in vehicle garages, up by five days per month.

The proportion of finance workers doing unpaid overtime rose by 1.5% from 2007 to 2008, while among research and development staff the increase was 2.4%, the TUC said.

The proportion of people doing unpaid hours has decreased sharply in insurance and pensions (down 7.5%) and agriculture (down by 5.6%).

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “The recession is bringing new pressure for people to work unpaid overtime. Workers in some industries are racking up the hours to complete the job quicker. But elsewhere work is drying up and workers do not have enough work to fill normal hours, let alone do overtime.”

Author of the report Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancashire University, said: “During a recession, we must all be fully committed to our colleagues and there is more pressure to work longer hours to get the job done.

“However, consistently working long hours is likely to affect your health adversely as well as your productivity.”

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