Reprinted from the NUJ website
Half of all media professionals work an average of 7.4 hours a week unpaid overtime, putting them fourth in a TUC league table of occupations who work beyond their contractual hours.
That is why the NUJ is encouraging journalists to take part in Work Your Proper Hours day today. The TUC day of action highlights the long hours and unpaid overtime culture faced by journalists at work. The union wants members to take a decent lunch break, leave work on time and organise NUJ events on the day.
Work Your Proper Hours day is the day to make the most of your time by taking a proper lunch-break and leave work on time at the end of your shift. Long hours cause stress, they are bad for your health, wreck relationships and make caring for children or dependents more difficult. Tired, burnt-out staff are bad for business. . More than five million people regularly do unpaid overtime, giving employers £29.2 billion free work last year.
The NUJ has carried out an analysis of what is happening in the newsrooms of two of the largest newspaper groups, Trinity Mirror and Newsquest. The results show that after years of cuts, journalists and photographers are struggling to do their jobs because of limited investment in quality journalism and dwindling numbers of staff in newsrooms.
The analysis shows that as staff cover for redundant posts, some of the industry’s poorest paid are working exceedingly long hours. This is detrimental to their health and also to the quality of journalism and service they can provide for their readers. Too many newspapers and website services are being run on goodwill, with journalists working very long hours. This is unacceptable.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ General Secretary said: “A record 5.26 million people worked unpaid overtime last year, the highest since records began in 1992. This will not be news to journalists – the problem is rife in our industry. Cuts to editorial posts and recruitment freezes mean that many are working longer and longer hours. We are all prepared to go the extra mile when required, but members are routinely covering for their former colleagues and working excessive hours. Friday 24 February is Work Your Proper Hours day. Make sure that you and your colleagues have a proper break and go home when your shift is supposed to end; employers cannot rely on your goodwill forever. Make home-time your deadline.”
Work Your Proper Hours Day for 2012 is held on Friday 24 February, but your own pay day may come earlier or later, depending on the hours you work above your contracted hours.
Use the TUC’s online unpaid overtime calculator to find out when you can celebrate paying off your long hours debt.
Take part in the TUC quiz here
Find out more about the campaign here