Socialist Worker

Work pressure is wrecking lives'

Issue No. 1683

Bosses ignore 48 hour limit

'Work pressure is wrecking lives'

WORKERS IN Britain are working longer despite the European Working Time Directive which is supposed to restrict the working week to 48 hours. The government was forced to introduce the directive last year. But New Labour watered it down.

Professor Harvie Ram sey of Strathclyde University says, "The government made so many concessions that we've been left with something that can be ignored by employers pretty much at will." A study released this week by the authoritative Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows that the 48 hour working week has made little difference to workers' lives.

  • 67 percent say they regularly work longer than their basic hours.
  • One in three full time male workers say they regularly work more than 48 hours a week.
  • 39 percent say their working hours had increased over the past five years.

Longer hours and more intensive work have had a devastating effect. One of the report's authors, Cerodwen Roberts, says, "Families are under more pressure. People's lives are beginning to burst at the seams."

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Article information

Sat 12 Feb 2000, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1683
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