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Unions ask companies to let staff watch WCup games

Unions ask companies to let staff watch WCup games

Britain's trade unions are asking companies to let employees watch the World Cup at work to prevent them from faking sickness during England matches.
After many workers called in sick during the 2006 World Cup, the Trade Union Council said Thursday that companies should allow televisions in the workplace or introduce flexible working hours during the June 11-July 11 tournament.
England's group matches against the United States and Algeria are scheduled to kickoff in the evening but its June 23 game with Slovenia, which could decide whether England progresses to the next round, starts at 3 p.m. British Summer Time (1400 GMT).
"The best way to ease tensions is for employers to discuss the issue with staff," TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said. "Rather than impose a blanket ban on football and run the risk of demotivating staff and losing hours through unauthorized sick days, we would encourage employers to let people watch the games if they like and claim back their time afterwards.
"That way, everyone wins."
A study by accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers said that 53 percent of British men and 21 percent of women planned to watch World Cup matches during office hours. PWC said that 5 percent of all staff said they would watch without permission or pretend to be ill, with another 20 percent taking annual leave or using flexible hours to ensure they are free.
"There is huge goodwill to be gained from accommodating flexible working requests or allowing staff to take a couple of hours out," said Michael Rendell, leader of PWC's human resource services. "With pay rises scarce and bonus pools down, this is a great way to thank and engage staff."
England's final group match is its only one likely to affect those working traditional office hours. If England progresses to the second round or beyond, it can only be involved in fixtures scheduled for evenings or weekends.
"People in England work the longest hours in Europe and we believe rigid working hours contribute to their unhappiness," Barber said. "Allowing people more flexibility makes them happier and ultimately more productive for their employers."
The TUC added that companies needed to be mindful of the fact that many workers in Britain will be supporting other nations.
Although Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland did not qualify for the showpiece, the last national census in 2001 showed that 8.3 percent of Britain's population was born overseas.


Updated : 2021-07-25 12:16 GMT+08:00