Labour Research October 2004


Willing slaves

How the overwork culture is ruling our lives

Madeleine Bunting, HarperCollins, 368 pages, paperback, £12.99

Guardian journalist Madeleine Bunting writes a compelling exposé of the long-hours culture that afflicts large sections of the British workforce.

Backed up by individual interviews and masses of statistics, she shows the damaging effects of overwork on workers' health and family lives and explores the reasons why so many employees feel they have no choice but to work excessive hours.

But the book is not simply a gloomy tale of woe. It presents examples of successful union campaigns on work-life balance, as well as employer measures to introduce more worker-friendly working patterns.

Bunting does not expect most employers to change their ways, and calls on employees to demand change and for the government to lead the way by cutting the working week and providing universal childcare and paid parental leave. An excellent read - if you have the time.