Topic : Working hours & Overtime This came up in a recent WhatsApp exchange so I thought I'd expand some more...

Admittedly, the hours any hairy arsed spark does IS his affair (after all we are 'self' employed) Also with this being a very subjective issue these are only my opinions that are shared by many but NOT all. So, first off the bat. An electricians day *used* to be generally the same UK-wide. As in, 8 am to 5pm with a paid hour for break/breaks. This WAS the industry standard aside from shift work. It was almost written in stone. Then over a period of time certain jobs even had an 8-4.30 day with 30 mins "paid" break. Then somewhere around a decade ago the insipid introduction of a day paid MINUS breaks began...Hmmm???

Note this was led by various firms & agencies in tandem.

How did they get away with it?

Simple, if you were a sub on the grub you better accept what was offered or you wouldn't be given a start. What a nightmare our game has become!!! Fear of debt or just making ends meet is what forced this mentality to win through. Whoopee for them, shitty for US very shitty!

The next hidden agenda involved the supposed "option" of an early start. This became the 7.30 start BUT not 4.30 finish (for most) in fact the lure of more money via more hours became the plan of attack to maximise profits & keeping labour on site for longer than the 7.5/8 hour day. Instrumental was move from day work rate to hours. This led to many having to do 7.30-5.30 to earn 10 hrs which was also subdivided so only 9 hours were/are paid. Again agencies & companies alike preying on a sparks prevalent necessity to be "in work" & earning rather than "out of work" & not. This established, sub contractors to often then consider doing more & more hours to "bump up the money" forgetting that WE should be earning a DECENT wage to gain a basic standard of living. More like, the more hours the better. Sadly, this caused a rift in the workforce & the end of any unification.Time served, more experienced electricians chose to only undertake jobs on their fundamental terms i.e. 8-4 at a higher rate per hour. Whilst a large number of not so time served, inexperienced sparkies happy to do 12 hour days & 7 day weeks. All the while the principle of OVERTIME was virtually rubbed out. This in short has us where we are now at...

Not 7.30 starts

Not 7am starts

But 6 am 6.30 starts BUT *not* finishing at 3 or 3.30 but later. Why? A 6am start (if paid as overtime at time & a half is what unsociable hours entail) although finish must be 3pm... But it'll be another "MSS" situation & some uninformed individuals will actually say... "don't know what you blokes are moaning about, 6-4 is OK by me" Agencies, firms & reps themselves are taking advantage of this"lack of a spine" syndrome & like I said about 6 months ago. The bottomfeeders will be stating 6am - 4pm as normal day... *NO IT F¥€#ING ISN'T!!'!* BUT as long as a fair amount of those who feel they have no choice & do these hours, then it will continue.

Do these lads who accept these starts with no question not understand what "UNSOCIABLE HOURS" means??? Not understand what "overtime" is??? The clue is in the title but because a standard day is being eradicated to suit site schedules & firms labour plans. A lot of goodfellas are in a no win situation. Not only is actual OVERTIME being phased out its meaning is being lost amongst a sack of shit phrasing like 'overtime available' or 'more hours available'... *ALL AT FLAT RATE!* But again sufficient numbers do these unlimited hours then forcing those who disagree to toe the line or be out of work!!! The whole situation is ridiculous & as stated. IF this carries on there will be NO overtime & the imaginary hope of a 37 hour week being adhered to is a fools hope & worse still 60 hour weeks are happily done by those who should know better, know nothings, no marks & worst of all blokes with no other option coz a normal weeks wage won't earn them enough to have a decent take home!!!

Fucking *ELECTRICIANS* struggling to earn a decent wage???

Remind me, aren't we the predominant trade with certification, qualifications & technical knowledge??? But slowly but surely this is becoming irrelevant. Is nobody seeing how totally frigged our game is & the mentality around it pushed by firms & agencies alike ALL who make a tidy profit & hit targets whilst Soppy Sparx do 100 hour weeks & think it's pukka!?!? All I expect & SHOULD get is a fair rate of pay befitting to OUR trade & the removal of this almost mandatory do the hours if you want more. NO!!! I will work 40 hours max including breaks of 2.5 hours paid. Anymore MUST be paid at an enhanced rate... Sadly I have no answers but would suggest that if more of US agreed to push for a standard 37 hour week & ANYTHING more being only optional NOT compulsory. In other words... MASTERS OF OUR OWN DESTINIES not slaves to their agendas.

Nuff said.

Thanks for listening M.N.E