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Brit unions request World Cup breaks

  • AP, Thursday, May 27, 2010 8:25 PM

Trade unions in Britain are asking companies to let employees watch the World Cup at work to prevent them from faking sickness during England games. The Trade Union Council (TUC) that employers should allow televisions in the workplace or introduce flexible working hours during the month-long tournament, noting that many workers called in sick during the 2006 World Cup.

After England plays the USA and Algeria in the evening, it faces Slovenia in the final Group C game with a 3 pm kickoff UK time.

"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.”

Accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers released a study indicating that 53 percent of British men and 21 percent of women planned to watch World Cup matches during office hours. The survey 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.

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