Public sector staff are unpaid by nearly £1bn a year, says union

Nearly a third of public sector staff in the south west regularly work unpaid overtime to the tune of almost £1bn.

The research by union GMB, shows that 186,000 public sector workers in the region regularly work an average of eight hours unpaid hours a week. It’s the highest percentage in the country and it amounts to £976m worth of unpaid work.

The union claims that if public sector workers were paid for these hours, they would be owed more than £5,200 on average: equivalent to almost a 23 per cent pay rise. It adds that more than 25,000 public sector workers in the South West regularly work more than 15 hours a week for free.

The latest figures follow GMB’s recent study, which showed that public sector workers regularly work unpaid overtime worth £11 billion a year. It says that midwives and social workers were two of the hardest hit occupations, with almost four in ten typically putting in unpaid hours. However, a quarter of people in school support staff roles, such as teaching assistants and school secretaries, also regularly worked unpaid.

John Phillips, GMB Regional Secretary, says: “The reality is that public services in our region are held together by the devotion of overworked and underappreciated employees, who are effectively handing the Government £1 billion worth of their labour for free.

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

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