Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Yet another fundamental human right you never knew you had

The UK tops the list of wealthy nations who work excessive hours, according to the International Labour Organisation.

The ILO says that one-quarter of UK employees work more than 48 hours a week, more than any other rich nation.

More than 600 million people worldwide are working long hours each week, says the UN body concerned with work trends.

The ILO report into working hours in 50 countries says its ideal of a maximum 48-hour working week is a long way off for many nations.

Among developing countries, Peruvians tops the list of workers who put in more than 48 hours a week.

The ILO blames the growth of service industries, such as tourism and transport, plus an expansion in informal working arrangements, for the excess of global working hours.

Now let me say straight up that what I don’t know about the history and motives of the International Labour Organisation could fill the Grand Canyon, and I have developed a deep suspicion towards well-meaning international organisations generally, but that last sentence strikes me as very odd. ‘Blames’ the growth of service industries?

Why would you have a goal of a global maximum 48-hour week? Is it, in fact, the International anti-Labour Organisation?


Anonymous said...

Because just as an alcoholic is anyone who drinks more than his doctor, so an exploited worker is anyone who works longer hours than the staff of the ILO.

Duck said...

The UK tops the list of wealthy nations who work excessive hours, according to the International Labour Organisation

Does anyone edit copy at the BBC? Nations do not work, they are not a "who". Obviously they are overworking their staff.

Brit said...

It is an exceptionally poorly written report from the BBC - it looks rushed.

But, as with the child poverty fiasco a few months back, one has to question the whole approach of these international do-gooders, and their allies in the media. The thinking is muddled to say the least.

The implication in the BBC report is that Peru is the worst off nation because over 50% of its citizens work more than 48 hours a week. But is this number gorwing or shrinking? Are Peruvians richer or poorer than they were before, or than their counterparts in the other countries? Are they happier or more miserable? Has Peru managed to solve an unemployment problem in a way that, for example, most of Africa can only dream of.

Why would the ILO have an isolated 'goal' of a worldwide maximum working week, without taking into account the millions of other factors? Are they just keeping pen-pushers and beancounters employed?

I can't help thinking this is the biggest crock since 'relative poverty'.

David said...

You have earned my undying enmity by causing me to go look at the ILO website. I will still pretend to be your friend, but one day, when you least expect it, whammo.

Harry Eagar said...

I thought underemployment was the big problem, most everywhere.

It's also, I think though I'm not going to bother to look it up, Americans who work the most hours per year. You English take more holidays, as you have Butlins and we don't.

Obviously, we are more deprived.

David said...

Says the man on Maui.