Stuart Clough


Full-time business writer. Part-time poet. One-time philosopher. @stuart_Ov

Letter to Ed & Geoff

January 2, 2018

Letter to Ed Milliband and Geoff lloyd from the excellent Reasons to be Cheerful Podcast after listening to Ep. 13 WORKING 9 TIL ....OVERTIME: Time for time and a half

You should give it a listen if you're into progressive politics, big ideas, and warm humour :)


Hi Ed & Geoff

Listening to your podcast since ep. 1, generally either in the car or in bed, and it's nice to share such intimate places with yourselves. Very chuckly.

On listening to your recent ep. on overtime, I was struck by how strange it is that we demarcate salaried and hourly workers. It speaks to a contractually-enabled class divide, and within that divide a societal expectation or managerial anthropology of who workers are:

Salaried = middle class = sense of personal responsibility, no union, will do the work required to fulfil their obligations :. treated like an adult

Hourly wage = lower class = no personal responsibility, unionised/trouble, will do as little as they can get away with, need incentivising to do anything :. bribed to do the extra work the group needs

Having in my life been both an hourly worker on the fish-packing and production lines of Grimsby docks (a long time ago) and a salaried worker in the creative/advertising/consultancy industries (last 5-10 years) I often compared my salary in junior professional roles unfavourably* with minimum wage and overtime/night shift wages in these hourly, traditional working class institutions.

These roles often contained a contract clause such as "hours are 9-5.30pm, but you may be required to work additional hours as and when required* – which in practice was mostly every day.

So you get into your long hours/poor work life scenario we know so well.

So a suggestion >
It feels like overtime ought to be compulsory for all contract-types for all workers.

This would:

a) discourage the late hours culture and promote better work/life balance as employers actively shoo workers out the door to cut costs

b) drive up productivity as employers push for more work within the core contracted hours (a la France)

c) encourage greater technological innovation and investment to augment (b) (again a la France)

d) ensure better pay & conditions for all workers by either providing the same pay for less work, or else the correct pay for the work they do

On this digital fag packet there looks to be a few big wins in there.

Some thoughts for you. Keep up the excellent work, and please keep adding the mis-en-scene in the attic. Loved the lamp detail.




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