|Here’s a story you might recognise.
Over the weekend I joined some friends at the pub. The sun was out and it was lovely, but one of our mates could not take eyes of his phone. He was responding to urgent emails and messages, that his boss insisted could not wait until Monday.
Later that evening, I spoke with another friend who usually works weekends, but was on annual leave. She works in the NHS and constantly receives messages about work, on multiple different messaging platforms, whether she’s working or not.
Whether it is a Sunday at the pub, a weeknight while watching telly or even on our daily commutes – work is following us everywhere.
And it’s having a huge impact on our mental health and relationships: 1 in 3 workers report struggling to switch off from work.
In France, Ireland and Argentina, governments have already taken action to fix the “always on” work culture that has accelerated over the last few years. They’ve introduced laws that give workers a “Right to Disconnect”, which prevents them having to send or receive work emails and messages outside working hours.
The UK government can do the same in a new Employment Bill they’re working on right now.
But we need a campaign to force their hand.
10,000 signatures on this petition would be a huge first step in this campaign. And we’ll work with everyone who signs to escalate the campaign and build pressure on the government to make the change.
We know that when working people stand together in their unions we can win big change. A Right to Disconnect would be a huge win for workers everywhere.
NB We shouldn’t need this anyway! Plymouth in UNISON will defend any worker criticised for not working outside the hours they are paid for. Leave your work phone at home. Don’t connect you work emails to your personal devises. Don’t accept work messages on FB WatsApp etc. Managers have no right to demand you work when they are not paying you. Don’t co-operate with this normalisation