The Alberta Federation of Labour reacted today to a new study by Statistics Canada looking at work hours across the country. The study revealed that Albertans work the most hours of any province in the country.
"Albertans are working our fingers to the bone in this boom," says AFL President Gil McGowan. "I wonder what price we pay for these long hours."
"Everyone is pushing hard to get the work done, putting in extra hours. While this might be admirable on one level, I am left very concerned," notes McGowan.
"First, longer work hours are causing an increase in workplace accidents and fatalities. Tired, stressed out workers with bosses pushing them to work harder and longer create unsafe working conditions."
"Extra hours at work also mean fewer hours with your family. It means less time to be in your community with friends and neighbours. That negatively affects quality of life. Is this the kind of province we want to build?"
The study showed that Albertans averaged 1,880 hours at work a year � more than 36 hours a week, after removing vacation time. This is the highest in the country. More significant is the finding that 12.5% of workers - again the highest in Canada � work more than 2,300 hours. A whopping 6.4% work more than 2,700 hours a year, which equals more than 51 hours a week.
"The main culprits in long work hours are agriculture and oil and gas. Agriculture is exempt from basic employment standards, which means there are no protections for workers. Oil and gas has become a wild west. We need to get a handle on these industries," observes McGowan.
McGowan believes we need to make quality of life a bigger priority, which includes reducing the number of hours we work. "What good is a big paycheque if your family is a mess and you have no time to enjoy the fruits of your labour?"
"We should see this study as a warning signal that our boom is unsustainable at this pace. We need to get smarter and more balanced."
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For more information contact:
Gil McGowan Tel: (780) 483-3021 Cell: (780) 218-9888