UK workers least likely in Europe to take time off because of stress and back pain

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date: 21 February 2007

embargo: For immediate release

European research published today (Wednesday) exposes the myth that British workers are quick to use illnesses caused by their work as an excuse to "throw a sickie". In fact, says the TUC, the study shows that British workers are the least likely in Europe to complain about the effect of their work on their health.

The 4th European Working Conditions Survey published today by the Dublin Foundation looks at working conditions in 31 countries across Europe and reveals a mixed picture of the effect that work has on British workers.

The report shows that British workers are far less likely to take leave as a result of a work-related illness, coming 26th out of 31, and are well below the EU average. The survey also shows that British workers are more likely to be subjected to threats and violence at work that any other country apart from the Netherlands.

Commenting on the report TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: "This report is a mixed bag for British workers. Worryingly, the high levels of workplace violence reflect the culture within Britain where some people think it is acceptable to threaten staff, in particular those dealing with the public such as paramedics, transport workers and shop staff.

'At the same time it is clear that the image that employers give of British workers who are happy to blame every twinge on their work and use illnesses such as stress and back pain as an excuse for taking time off work, bears no resemblance to reality."

NOTES TO EDITORS:

- 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: Tim Lezard T: 020 7467 1248; E: tlezard@tuc.org.uk

Liz Chinchen T: 020 7467 1248; M: 07778 158175; E: media@tuc.org.uk

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