Overtime Working

  • Alastair Evans
  • Stephen Palmer
Part of the Industrial Relations in Practice book series (IRPS)


The mention of overtime evokes a wide range of responses: the exasperated, ‘if overtime were abolished to-morrow, a quarter of a million jobs would be created in manufacturing industry alone’; the incredulous, ‘twelve million hours of overtime are regularly worked weekly in industry, yet three million hours are being lost through short-time working’; and the complacent, ‘we need overtime for flexibility, and anyway it is well controlled’. Innumerable epithets have been coined to describe the incidence of overtime working, including ‘the curse of the male manual worker‘1, a ‘strange scandala’ and an ‘institution that will not die’3. Yet, almost fatalistically, overtime is often seen as an apparently unavoidable phenomenon of modern industrial life. In the words of a recent article, while overtime is ‘disliked by both sides of industry, for whatever reasons, it nevertheless has joined death and taxation as inevitable’.4


Trade Union Collective Bargaining Overtime Working Income Policy Earning Survey 
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Overtime Working

  1. 1.
    1. R. Taylor, ‘Overtime: prop and curse of the male manual worker’, Industrial Relations Digest (December 1978).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    2. S. Caulkin, ‘The strange scandal of overtime’, Management Today (April 1976) pp. 53–5, 110.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    3. D. Leslie, ‘Overtime: the institution that will not die’, Personnel Management (July 1977) pp. 34–6.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    4. Michael Kinchin-Smith and Stephen Palmer ‘Getting to the bottom of overtime’, Personnel Management (February 1981) pp. 27–31.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    5. Ibid; Keith Carby and Fiona Edwards-Stuart, The Overtime Dilemma, (London: Institute of Personnel Management, 1981).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    6. Department of Employment, New Earnings Survey (April, 1983) Part A, Table 8.Google Scholar
  7. 9.
    9. Hugh Clegg, Implications of the Shorter Working Week for Management, (London: British Institute of Management, 1962) p. 12.Google Scholar
  8. 10.
    10. E. G. Whybrew, Overtime Working in Britain, (London: HMSO, 1968) p.62Google Scholar
  9. 11.
    National Board for Prices and Inwmes, Hours of Work, Overtime and Shiftworking, Report No. 161 (London: HMSO, 1970) pp. 52-3.Google Scholar
  10. 20.
    20. TUC, Progress Report on the Campaign for Reduced Working Time, No. 6, (December, 1980).Google Scholar
  11. 22.
    22. Unemployment and Working Time, TUC Consultative Document (February 1981) p. 25.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Alastair Evans and Stephen Palmer 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alastair Evans
  • Stephen Palmer

There are no affiliations available

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