News Shorts & Other Busyness
Squall 9, Jan/Feb 1995, pg. 6.
The working week in Britain now averages 43.4 hours, one hour more that ten years ago and two hours more than the next nearest European country, Portugal. According to statistics released recently by Eurostat, the EC’s statistics office, both males and females in Britain work a longer working week than either sexes in any of the European Community countries.
Britain is the only country in the EC where the working week is actually increasing. Some of this increase is accredited to professional and managerial staff working long often unpaid hours to further their career in a highly competitive career market. It is also likely that the rise in ‘itinerant’ self-employed contract work, has similarly led to a furious increase in working hours in order to met the high competition for the contracts. What is undoubtedly the case is that such a high average working week leads to heavy stress on those who are employed, and fewer opportunities for those that are not.
A recent report published the Joseph Rowntree Foundation reported that between 1975 and 1993 the number of two adult households where both adults worked has gone up from 51 to 60 per cent, whilst the proportion of households with no earner has risen from 3 to 11 per cent. According to the same Report, the gap between rich and poor in Britain has increased dramatically, with the proportion of the population earning less than half the national average income, more than trebling since 1977.