The TUC stages its Work Your Proper Hours event today, 24 Feb in response to findings that five million UK employees work unpaid overtime and to mark the occasion we asked our members for their horror stories, including extra hours, exploitation and prison cells.
Here are some to make us glad we work in the happy world that is HR Zone and TrainingZONE:
- Fast Food Forever: "When I was 16 I worked for a well known high street fast food burger vendor (who shall remain almost nameless - shan't they, Ronald?) earning cash to keep me going through college.
"They regularly made us work 16-20 hour days whilst only paying us for a maximum of 10 hours for each shift, and once I had to work a 28 hour straight shift in order to prepare for an inspection - and my reward? 10 hours pay and a free breakfast!
"So anybody asks why I now boycott all fast food it's because I think I've paid enough for it already!"
- Beware The Boss: "I was an interim manager at my last company. For the first week I aimed to leave at 5.30pm until one of the girls from the office stopped to question me why I was going at that time.
"I explained that it was my finishing time and in hushed tones she said, "But he has not gone", looking towards the HR Director's door. It turned out that everyone including the managers were so scared of him that no one left until after he did!! They were there until 7.30 – 8pm just because he was still in the building.
"This was the same director who said to me that no one could teach him anything. I wish I could be so knowledgeable."
- Beware "Flexi Hours": "It’s funny how civil servants crop up in stories like this.
"When I was an RAF officer working at the Personnel and Training HQ, we had several civil servant colleagues, some of whom worked flexi hours. Core time was something like 08:30 to 16:30, so most people started at 08:30. One chap always left an hour early because he allegedly started an hour early as well.
"One day I came in at about 07:45 to prepare for an important meeting, and this chap was sitting at his desk reading his newspaper. At 08:30, just before everyone else arrived, he put it away and started work. It turned out that he always did that. So he stole a whole hour a day, every day. As a taxpayer as well as an RAF officer I wasn't too pleased."
- ’Petty’ Officers?: "When I was working for a management consultancy a colleague was working in a Naval Base and finished for the day at around 6.15pm.
"She made her way through the darkened building to the car park and drove to the gate.
"There she was promptly arrested by the guard since she was in possession of a "pink" visitors pass which meant that she should be escorted by her host at all times ... her host had gone home at the end of the civil servant's day at 4.30pm!
"My colleague was put into a cell whilst the guard commander dragged the MoD staffer back in from home to sign out her ‘guest’.
"No one was amused but some important lessons were learned that evening."
Do you have any working hours tales to make us shudder? Post your comments below.