University teaching academics are "giving away" £877 million a year in unpaid overtime, a report has found.
The study by the Trades Union Congress says that of 215,000 people classed as "university teaching professionals" in the Government's 2007 Labour Force Survey, almost 88,000 reported working overtime without being paid, averaging just over eight hours a week each.
Between them, the report says, these academics missed out on £877 million last year, or £9,985 each, equivalent to £192 a week based on average pay of about £23 an hour.
Brendan Barber, the TUC general secretary, said: "This shows just how hard lecturers need to work, and should put an end to the lazy media stereotype based on a mythical Oxbridge of yore."
The union named Friday 22 February "Work Your Proper Hours Day" to draw attention to the amount of unpaid overtime teaching that staff at all levels of education are putting in. It said that if staff had done all their unpaid labour from the start of the year, 22 February would represent the first day they would begin receiving payment for their labour.
Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, said the figures reinforced the need for better working conditions for overstretched lecturers.
"It comes as little surprise that university staff are working extra hours to get the job done," she said. "Rising class and seminar sizes, increased bureaucracy and ever greater pressure to compete make a mockery of the work-life balance for many.
"Their continued commitment to the profession must be properly recognised by our universities and colleges, and they must understand that we cannot build a world-class education sector on the goodwill of staff."
University staff fare slightly better than the average for the teaching profession as a whole, with the TUC figures revealing that 52 per cent of all teachers regularly work extra hours, compared with 40.8 per cent of university teaching staff.