Media industry 'has long hours culture'

15-02-2008

Media industry 'has long hours culture'
Journalists, photographers and public relations officers are among the thousands of media professionals who spend hours every week working for nothing.

This is the latest finding from the Trades Union Congress (TUC), which says workers in this sector are each giving away £5,884 a year in unpaid overtime.

It has named February 22nd Work Your Proper Hours Day; the day which media employees would first get paid if they did all their unpaid work in one go at the start of the year.

People working in the media are 50 per cent more likely to undertake extra work outside their normal hours, with 40.3 per cent regularly working almost seven extra hours a week.

General secretary Brendan Barber said: "Long hours and unpaid overtime will always be part of the media industry.

"But on Work Your Proper Hours Day we want bosses to thank staff for all the extra effort they put in."

Across all sectors, unpaid overtime for each employee is worth £4,955 a year and about a fifth of workers do seven hours and six minutes.

ClickAJob chief executive Yngve Traberg is sympathetic to workers, but warns of the goose and the golden eggs.

"Long hours inevitably go with the territory in this sector," he says. "Working with unpredictable human interest material, journos and media pros all know they must 'stay with the story' and that the job isn't over until it's over."

"Front-end press corps work irregular hours with many ups and downs and the premium salary they are paid reflects this," he points out.

"It's completely different on the shop floor, where continuous production is everything and skilled technicians are paid per hour according to predictable shift needs."

But there is a way out, as Mr Traberg explains.

"By all means, employees should be paid what they're worth," he says. "But instead of quibbling over hours, it is perhaps better to negotiate a mutually acceptable package up front before taking the job."

"Long hours are here to stay, and deep down every media employee knows it - especially when most business know they have to be globally competitive."

Related categories: Media / New Media / Creative.


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