Readers’ letters - March 2

An amendment to the Welfare Reform Bill focused on child poverty. See letter
An amendment to the Welfare Reform Bill focused on child poverty. See letter

Say no to long hours

Workers in the North West did more than £2.7bn worth of unpaid overtime last year, according to new analysis published by the TUC to mark its annual Work Your Proper Hours Day.

The analysis of official figures shows that more than 470,000 workers in the region did unpaid overtime in 2015

worth, on average, £5,792 
each.

Those working beyond their contracted hours did, on average, 7.9 hours of unpaid overtime a week.

Work Your Proper Hours Day is the day when the average person who does unpaid overtime would start to get paid if they did all their unpaid overtime at the start of the year.

To mark it, the TUC is calling on staff to take a proper lunch break and leave work on time.

Managers are also being encouraged to lead by example and encourage their staff to work their proper hours.

Public sector workers contributed £10.8bn of unpaid overtime last year.

Public sector employees make up a quarter of total employees but produce a third of all unpaid overtime mainly in fear of losing their jobs.

Too many workplaces in the North West tolerate a long-hours culture.

That is why we are calling on employees to take a stand and take a full lunch break and go home on time.

We do not want to turn Britain into a nation of clock watchers.

Few people mind putting in extra effort from time to time when it is needed, but it is too easy for extra time to be taken for granted and expected day in day out.

I would urge anyone worried about a long-hours culture in their workplace to join their union, to make sure they are

represented and their voices are heard.

Derek Barton

Trades Council

‘No moral compass’

Having watched the recent House of Commons debate on the Lords’ amendments to the Welfare Reform Bill, I am even more convinced that Conservative MPs have no moral compass. The first amendment concerned ensuring that child poverty was monitored by reference to household income. However, a succession of Tory MPs argued this should not be the case. The Lords’ amendment was thus duly overturned.

This leads me to conclude that in five years’ time, the Government will claim that child poverty has disappeared.

The second amendment was also overturned, meaning that, from April 2017, new Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants in the work-related group lose £30 per week. This, according to the Tories, will encourage claimants to work. However, this is totally flawed as the claimants are clearly already declared unfit for work, due to serious sickness, physical and/or mental health issues or disabilities. Rather, this measure is ideologically driven, to take much needed finance from over 400,000 of the most vulnerable people in society, in the vain belief the economy will be regenerated.

Glyn Powell,

Address supplied

USA lesson

It seems the President of the USA and his secretary of state know nothing about American history. They tell the British to carry on being governed by unelected officials of a corrupt foreign power.

Yet in 1776, when they had the very same problem, they took up arms, and won the right to govern themselves.

We British must grasp this chance and vote to leave this sinking ship, that is the EEU.

P Ward via email