THE number of workers in Yorkshire doing more than 48 hours a week has soared, it has been claimed.
New figures from the TUC suggest there has been a 30 per cent increase in the numbers working beyond the 48 hour limit since 2010.
Yorkshire has seen the biggest increase of any region in the UK with country overall seeing a 15 per cent increase.
The TUC claimed the figures showed British workers’ health is being put at risk as employers push them to spend more time in the office.
But the Government insisted allowing workers the option of putting in extra hours is an important part of the labour market which makes the UK an attractive place to do business.
an Union’s ‘working time directive’ puts a 48-hour limit on the length of the working week.
However, employees are allowed to opt out of the regulations and trade unions claim many staff are pressured into exercise that right as a condition of securing their job.
Bill Adams, the TUC’s regional secretary for Yorkshire, said: “Britain’s long hours culture is hitting productivity and putting workers’ health at risk.
“Working more than 48 hours a week massively increases the risk of strokes, heart disease and diabetes.
“We need stronger rules around excessive working, not an opt-out of the Working Time Directive.”
Mining, hotel and food services, farming and health and social work are the areas that have seen the biggest rises in long hours working.
It has been suggested that employment rights will be one of the areas where the Government will seek to take back control from Brussels as part of the renegotation of Britain’s membership of the European Union.
A spokesman for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills said: “The Government is committed to solving the productivity puzzle and supporting hard working people. Giving people the opportunity to work longer hours if they want is a key part of the UK’s flexible labour market.
“Those who choose to opt out are still entitled to protections such as weekly and daily rest breaks; workers should always get the time needed to properly recuperate and reap the benefits of their hard work.”