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August 12, 2009

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Pub manifesto aims to banish long-hours culture

The Unite trade union has launched a ‘pub industry manifesto’ to limit

the working week of managers to a maximum of 48 hours, in line with the

European Working Time Directive.

The union claims that in recent years there has been a significant rise in cases of early retirement on the grounds of ill health. It has pointed the finger at PubCos (groups of pubs owned by a single company), accusing them of cutting costs and forcing managers to operate with fewer staff.

To address this situation, it has drawn up a manifesto, which calls for a maximum 48-hour working week; a minimum of 25 days holiday, excluding eight bank holidays; a comprehensive review of staff safety, particularly on violence-at-work issues; and union recognition and collective bargaining rights for all workers in the pub industry.

Dave Daly, licensees Unite national committee member has represented many managers faced with having to work excessive shifts. He said: “I recently supported a Lancashire couple in taking a case to tribunal over the long hours they were expected to work, using the Working Time Directive regulations, which state you cannot be forced to work longer than 48 hours per week. We won a substantial award for our members and this is just one case out of many.”

Jennie Formby, Unite national officer for the hospitality sector, said: “Working excessive hours is the norm in the industry, and pub managers now have the dubious honour of working longer hours than any other group of employees in the UK. Working 60-70 hours a week is just not acceptable and the health of our members is suffering.”

She called on the PubCos to enter into negotiations about working-hours standards and other health and safety issues.

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