Plumbers Burning the Midnight Oil

A survey by WaterSafe has found over half of plumbers are working over the maximum hours within the Working Time Directive.*

The survey revealed 54% of plumbers work more than 48 hours a week, with a further 26% working between 40-48 hours and just 13% working between 35-40 hours.

Furthermore, 94% of plumbers think their long hours have had a negative impact on their family and social life.

In total, 61% of plumbers said they have had to extend their working hours over the last ten years and, unsurprisingly, it seems the recession is mostly to blame. When asked if they thought the recession had impacted their business, 77% said yes, with 41% saying customers don’t want the best person for the job anymore, claiming cost is now the most important thing to homeowners.

Just over two thirds of plumbers felt they couldn’t turn down a job even if it was outside their normal working hours with 62% saying in this current economy, they feel under pressure to take all the work they can get.

As well as customers wanting more for less with higher expectations, increasing competition and new legislation, plumbers also blamed social media for an increase in their working hours. Nearly three quarters (73%) of those surveyed said they felt technology and social media had made them feel like they were always working and as though they couldn’t ‘switch off’. However, 27% said this was a good thing as it has opened up more job opportunities for them.

Julie Spinks, board member of WaterSafe, comments: “There’s no doubt that the recession has affected all of us in some way or another. However, it’s concerning to see that such a large proportion of plumbers are having to go over and above the maximum working hours set out by the Working Time Directive, in order to meet the demands from homeowners and maintain competitiveness in the marketplace.
“It’s important that the industry steps up to addresses this issue because overworked, tired plumbers could potentially result in unsafe installations. For the plumber, this could also have a knock-on effect in their home life. What’s more, if we want to encourage young people into the industry we need to ensure hours are realistic and demands are reasonable."

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