Today marks one year since the first national lockdown. For many architectural workers, work and home life have become totally indistinguishable with high levels of unpaid overtime. The fallout of the pandemic has only exacerbated the existing epidemic of overwork in the sector. We are tired. End Overwork Now!
Overwork is an affliction of architectural work. The cost of winning a project, meeting a deadline, and ‘business as usual’ is all too often the unpaid labour of architectural workers: untaken lunch breaks, coming in early and leaving late, working through weekends. Routinely under-resourced projects produce stress, anxiety and burn-out, creating a mental health crisis in our sector. Workers are coerced to ‘opt-out’ of the maximum 48-hour week when we sign our employment contracts. The normalisation of ‘working late’ excludes workers with caring responsibilities, and prevents us from building lives outside of the office. Our hourly rate is driven down with every unpaid hour, protecting the Director’s profits. Working class, disabled, migrant and black and brown workers are affected most. We spend our time ‘outside of work’ recovering, only to return to it.
To end this toxic culture of overwork, SAW members demand:
- All overtime must be paid at least at the same rate as usual hours
- All overtime must be genuinely optional and pre-agreed
- All practices must implement a 4-day week, without a drop in pay
As workers, your labour is your POWER. By organising with your colleagues in your workplace and collectively refusing to overwork, you can compel your employer to adopt sustainable working conditions. Join a union, organise your workplace, and End Overwork Now!