Working just one 10 hour day per week can increase the risk of stroke by a third, a new study has found.
A French study investigating the impact of excessive working on cardiovascular health found that those who worked 10 hours or more for 50 days a year were 29 per cent more likely to have a stroke, compared to people who work shorter hours.
People who worked over long periods for 10 years or more increased their risk of suffering a stroke by 45 per cent, the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research study concluded.
Lead author Dr Alexis Descatha said, “As a clinician, I will advise my patients to work more efficiently and plan to follow my own advice.”
The study, compiled from repeat surveys beginning in 2012 of 143,592 participants aged between 18 and 69, is particularly relevant to British workers as they have the longest working hours of any country in the EU.
Britons work an average of 42 hours each week, compared to 39 hours in Belgium, France and Italy and just 37 in Denmark.
In February, a survey also revealed that the vast majority of British workers do not take their full entitlement of annual leave days by the end of the year.
By the end of the year, 72 per cent of workers have not taken off the annual leave days they have been allocated.
When polled in November last year, workers had on average 7.5 days still to take off.
Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said millions of people in the UK are working in a labour market “dominated by long hours” and “unscrupulous bosses who deliberately ignore or undermine legal safeguards”.
“To make matters worse, amid ongoing Brexit uncertainty, the EU’s working time directive — which guarantees those without union protection at their workplace, a minimum number of holidays each year, rest breaks, a maximum number of weekly work hours and a cap on excessive night work — is now also under threat,” Turner added.
“Workers who want to ensure that they get not just their legal rights but negotiated improvements to annual leave and other workplace conditions each year, should join a union and organise collectively to ensure their voice and concerns are heard at work.”
As part of Unite’s Work, Voice, Pay industrial strategy the union is calling for a shorter working week for workers with no loss of pay as a response to growing company profits from automation.