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Office hours getting longer and longer

Date 29 Nov 2007

Workers are putting in longer hours in the UK. One in eight people now work a 48-hour a week, with that figure rising to one in six in London, a study by the TUC found.

In total, 3.2 million work 48 hours or more, which is 13% of the entire workforce. The figures showed that a so-called "hard core" of bad employers were taking no notice of the law or calls to give staff a better work-life balance, the TUC said.

Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC, said: "These are very disturbing numbers. They suggest that the slow, but at least steady, decline in those working more than 48 hours a week has come to an end. No-one should forget that 48 hours is six eight-hour days - more than enough for anyone every week.

"There is undoubted abuse of the law but employers know they can get away with it because it is rarely enforced."

The TUC said official figures underestimated long hours because they were unlikely to include migrant workers or people who lived at their place of work, such as hotel or care staff.

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