People working over 48 hours a week increases to 3.3 million

Share this page

date: 5 June 2008

embargo: 00.01hrs Friday 6 June

An extra 180,000 people across the UK are working more than 48 hours a week in 2008, according to a TUC analysis of official statistics released today (Friday).

The analysis, included in the new 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.

In the first quarter of 2008, the total number of people working long hours increased by 0.5 percentage points (180,000 people) to 3.3 million. The sharpest increases in long hours working occurred in the East of England (up 2.1 percentage points) and London (up 2 percentage points). Between 1998 and 2006, the number of people working more than 48 hours was reduced by 3.7 percentage points (707,000) from 3.8 million to 3.1 million.

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.

The analysis also finds that 85 per cent of new long hours workers are male. The TUC believes that this trend, in which senior jobs are increasingly reliant on long hours, could hamper efforts to close the pay gap, as women with childcare responsibilities are likely to be excluded from these roles.

In order to reverse the growth of long hours working, the TUC is calling for a stronger Working Time Directive (WTD) to protect employees. Since its implementation in 1998, the WTD has helped to reduce excessive long hours, although the UK's opt-out has meant that this progress, in the TUC's view, has been too slow.

The TUC is calling on the Government to back proposals to strengthen the WTD, when employment ministers from the across Europe discuss the Directive at the EU Social Affairs Council meeting on 9 and 10 June.

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.'

'When the Government meets with other European Ministers next week, it should side with Britain's 25 million workers and take action to end excessive working time, rather than side with the business lobbyists who act as apologists for Britain's long hours culture.'

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Employees working more than 48 hours by gender

Gender

Working more than 48 hours per week 2008 (thousands)

Changes 2007/2008 (thousands)

Per cent of employees working more than 48 hours per week 2008

Changes 2007/2008 (per cent)

Male

2,548

+153

19.7%

+1.0%

Female

727

+26

5.9%

+0.1%

Total

3,276

+180

12.9%

+0.5%

Employees working more than 48 hours by region

UK nations and regions

Working more than 48 hours per week 2008 (thousands)

Changes 2007/2008 (thousands)

Per cent of employees working more than 48 hours per week 2008

Changes 2007/2008 (per cent)

North East

112

*

10.9

-0.5

North West (inc Merseyside)

297

+22

10.7

+0.8

Yorkshire and Humberside

261

+27

12.1

+0.9

East Midlands

264

+30

14.0

+1.3

West Midlands

263

+22

12.0

+0.8

Eastern

374

+59

15.5

+2.1

London

536

+77

17.1

+2.0

South East

490

*

13.7

-0.3

South West

243

-29

11.3

-1.5

Wales

124

*

10.8

-0.3

Scotland

250

-17

11.2

-0.7

Northern Ireland

63

*

9.6

-0.2

Total

3,276

+180

12.9

+0.5

Employees working more than 48 hours by industry

Industry

Working more than 48 hours per week 2008 (thousands)

Changes 2007/2008 (thousands)

Per cent of employees working more than 48 hours per week 2008

Changes 2007/2008 (per cent)

Agriculture, hunting and forestry

42

*

20.1%

-`1.7%

Mining quarrying

38

*

31.4%

-0.7%

Manufacturing

494

-13

14.7%

-0.2%

Electricity, gas and water supply

22

*

11.1%

-0.3%

Construction

326

+17

22.0%

+0.5%

Wholesale retail & motor trade

369

+37

9.7%

+1.0%

Hotels and restaurants

132

+10

11.3%

+0.4%

Transport storage and communication

333

*

19.5%

+0.4%

Financial intermediation

198

+40

16.2%

+3.1%

Real estate, renting and business activities.

425

+10

15.1%

-0.1%

Public administration and defence

185

+26

9.1%

+1.2%

Education

353

*

14.0%

-0.1%

Health and social work

212

+11

6.4%

+0.5%

Other community social and personal

134

+21

10.8%

+1.6%

Total

3,276

+180

12.9%

+0.5%

- Source: TUC analyses of National Statistics (Labour Force Survey unpublished data).

- Apparent results of less than 10,000 employees are not published and are marked with a * symbol, as they are too small to be robust.

- The TUC report - The Return of the Long Hours Culture - can be downloaded at www.tuc.org.uk/extras/longhoursreturn.pdf

- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk

- Register for the TUC's press extranet: a service exclusive to journalists wanting to access pre-embargo releases and reports from the TUC. Visit www.tuc.org.uk/pressextranet

Contacts:

Media enquiries:
Liz Chinchen T: 020 7467 1248 M: 07778 158175 E: media@tuc.org.uk
Rob Holdsworth T: 020 7467 1372 M: 07717 531150 E: rholdsworth@tuc.org.uk
Elly Brenchley T: 020 7467 1337 M: 07900 910624 E: ebrenchley@tuc.org.uk

Press Release
Printer-friendly versionSend by email

Share this Page