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77,000 Welsh Public Sector Workers Carry Out £400m of Free Hours Each Year

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New research by GMB, the union for public sector staff, shows that 77,000 public sector workers in Wales regularly work unpaid overtime worth £392 million a year. Almost 19% of country’s public sector workers regularly work unpaid hours.

The study, which is based on the latest official statistics, found that almost 19% public sector staff in the country regularly work an average of eight hours unpaid hours a week.

If public sector workers in Wales were paid for these hours, they would be owed more than £5,000 on average – equivalent to a 21.6 per cent pay rise.

And more than 8,200 public sector workers in Wales regularly work more than 15 hours a week for free.

Public sector workers are almost twice as likely to work unpaid overtime than their private sector counterparts.

GMB warns public sector staff were working ‘dangerous’ levels of extra hours.

Midwives and social workers were two of the hardest hit public sector occupations, with almost four in ten typically putting in unpaid hours.

A quarter of people in school support staff roles, such as teaching assistants and school secretaries, also regularly worked unpaid.

John Phillips, GMB Welsh Secretary, said:

“Philip Hammond says that public sector workers are ‘overpaid’ but these shocking new figures show just how out of touch he is.

“Public sector workers are the backbone of Wales – working above and beyond their contracted hours because they are committed to jobs they love.

“Yet the Government rewards their dedication with crippling real-terms pay cuts.

“Ministers think they can push staff indefinitely, but low pay, unmanageable workloads and stress are pushing many of our members to the limit.

“Unpaid hours mean that thousands across Wales are effectively earning below the minimum wage, especially in the care sector.

“The reality is that public services in our country are held together by the devotion of overworked and underappreciated employees, who are effectively handing the Government £400 million worth of their labour for free.

“It’s frankly patronising and ill-informed to dismiss calls for wages increases when salaries would rise by almost quarter if payslips genuinely reflected all hours worked.

“Enough is enough – it’s time to tackle ever rising workloads and give our public sector workers the real pay rises they desperately need and deserve.”