Tomorrow, 22 February, is ‘Work Your Proper Hours Day’: according to the TUC, nearly five million of us are putting in an average of over seven hours unpaid overtime per week. That’s nearly £5,000 of wages given by every employee to the employers every year.
“If you worked all your unpaid overtime at the start of the year” says the TUC, “22 February would be the first day you’d get paid.” So those militants at Congress House are calling upon all of us to mark the day by… “turning up for work on time, taking a proper lunch break and leaving when you’re meant to.” It would be laughable, wouldn’t it, but for the fact that so many of us would seem to be such a bunch of wimps, crawlers and gaffers’ persons?
Anyway: what the hell are “proper hours”? I’m fairly sure the TUC didn’t have the routine extraction of surplus value in mind when they launched this campaign.
You know what I’m on about:
“During the second period of the labour process, that in which his labour is no longer necessary labour (ie: necessary to produce the value of the worker’s means of subsistance -JD), the worker does indeed expend labour-power, he does work, but his labour is no longer necessary labour, and he creates no value for himself. He creates surplus-value which, for the capitalist, has all the charms of something created out of nothing. This part of the working day I call surplus labour-time, and to the labour expended during that time I give the name of surplus labour. It is just as important for a correct understanding of surplus-value to conceive it as merely a congealed quantity of surplus labour-time, as nothing but objectified surplus labour, as it is for a proper comprehension of value in general to conceive it as merely a congealed quantity of so many hours of labour, as nothing but objectified labour.”
Now, when are we going to do something about that?