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GMB Reveals £11Billion Public Sector Unpaid Overtime Scandal

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

 

Public services are held together by the devotion of overworked and underappreciated employees says GMB.

New research by GMB, the union for public sector staff, shows that 1.8million public sector workers regularly work unpaid overtime worth £11 billion a year. [1]

The study, which is based on the latest official statistics, found that almost a quarter of public sector staff regularly work an average of eight hours unpaid hours a week.

If public sector workers were paid for these hours, they would be owed an extra £6,000 on average - equivalent to a 24 per cent pay rise.

Public sector workers are almost twice as likely to work unpaid overtime than their private sector counterparts.

GMB warns public sector staff were working ‘dangerous’ levels of extra hours.

More than three hundred thousand public sector workers – or one in twenty – said they usually worked fifteen or more unpaid hours a week.

Midwives and social workers were two of the hardest hit public sector occupations, with almost four in ten typically putting in unpaid hours.

A quarter of people in school support staff roles, such as teaching assistants and school secretaries, also regularly worked unpaid.

412,000 public sector jobs have been cut since 2010 which has raised workloads while demand has risen. [2]

Rehana Azam, GMB National Secretary for Public Services, said:

“Philip Hammond says that public sector workers are ‘overpaid’ but these shocking new figures show just how out of touch he is.

“Public sector workers are the backbone of our society – working above and beyond their contracted hours because they are committed to jobs they love.

“Yet the Government rewards their dedication with crippling real-terms pay cuts.

“Ministers think they can push staff indefinitely, but low pay, unmanageable workloads and stress are pushing many of our members to the limit.

“Unpaid hours mean that thousands are effectively earning below the minimum wage, especially in the care sector.

“The reality is that public services are held together by the devotion of overworked and underappreciated employees, who are effectively handing the Government £11 billion worth of their labour for free.

“It’s frankly patronising and ill-informed to dismiss calls for wages increases when millions of salaries would rise by a quarter if payslips genuinely reflected all hours worked.

“Enough is enough - it’s time to tackle ever rising workloads and give our public sector workers the real pay rises they desperately need and deserve.”

ENDS

Contact: GMB Press Office on 07958 156846 or at press.office@gmb.org.uk

Notes for editors

[1] See tables below from a GMB study of the ONS’s Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (Great Britain and Northern Ireland editions) 2016 and quarterly ONS Labour Force Survey (January to March 2017) data.

Public sector occupations

Occupation

Per cent regularly working unpaid hours

Midwives

37.5

Social workers

36.9

School secretaries

28.2

Nurses

28.5

Librarians

27.4

Teaching Assistants

26.0

Police and Community Support Officers

21.0

Private sector average

14.4


Proportion regularly working unpaid hours (per cent)

Country/Region

Public Sector

Private sector

UK

26.8

14.4

North East

22.1

11.6

North West

26.6

12.5

Yorkshire and Humberside

26.4

11.9

East Midlands

30.1

14.5

West Midlands

21.4

10.8

East of England

31.6

14.2

London

29.6

19.1

South East

29.8

16.6

South West

32.8

16.1

Wales

18.9

11.4

Scotland

22.9

12.4

Northern Ireland

14.7

9.3

Economic value of unpaid overtime

Country/Region

Public sector workers regularly doing unpaid overtime

Average hours per week

Annual unpaid contribution

As a percentage of annual salary

Net value of unpaid contributions

UK

1,828,413

7.8

£6,018

24.1

£11,003,956,120

North East

64,223

8.8

£6,142

26.8

£394,457,404

North West

207,555

8.6

£6,439

26.4

£1,336,491,846

Yorkshire and Humberside

153,555

7.7

£5,444

24.2

£835,882,515

East Midlands

139,744

8.3

£6,097

26.7

£851,952,166

West Midlands

116,903

9.4

£6,845

29.5

£800,238,059

East of England

184,039

7.5

£5,630

24.7

£1,036,071,921

London

248,756

7.6

£7,274

22.0

£1,809,353,563

South East

267,427

8.0

£6,036

24.9

£1,614,157,702

South West

186,801

7.1

£5,227

22.7

£976,453,035

Wales

77,074

7.0

£5,089

21.6

£392,261,514

Scotland

151,053

6.8

£5,230

20.5

£789,970,594

Northern Ireland

31,283

7.6

£5,816

22.7

£181,937,883

Public sector staff regularly working 15 hours or more unpaid overtime a week

Country Region

Number of public sector workers doing 15 hours+ unpaid unpaid work a week

Per cent of public sector workers doing 15 hours+ unpaid work a week

UK

316,281

4.6

North East

15,437

5.3

North West

45,967

5.9

Yorkshire and Humberside

29,423

5.1

East Midlands

25,231

5.4

West Midlands

28,293

5.2

East of England

24,453

4.2

London

38,333

4.6

South East

47,307

5.3

South West

25,464

4.5

Wales

8,248

2.0

Scotland

22,717

3.4

Northern Ireland

5,408

2.5

 

[2] Excluding the effects of major reclassifications. ONS, Public sector employment, 14 June 2017 - https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/publicsectorpersonnel/datasets/publicsectoremploymentreferencetable

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