Union Leader Calls for Four Day Work Week
General secretary of the TUC is calling for a shorter working week and higher pay for everyone – and says tech should pave the way for it.
Union leader Frances O’Grady, the general secretary for the Trade Union Congress (TUC) is pushing for a four-day working week, saying that workers could and should be able to benefit from the wealth generated by technological advances.
O’Grady believes that new technology should enable her vision for a better paid shorter working week. Addressing the TUC Conference, she said: “In the 19th century, unions campaigned for an eight-hour day. In the 20th century, we won the right to a two-day weekend and paid holidays.
“So, for the 21st century, let’s lift our ambition again. I believe that in this century we can win a four-day working week, with decent pay for everyone. It’s time to share the wealth from new technology. Not allow those at the top to grab it for themselves. We need strong unions with the right to go into every workplace, starting with Amazon’s warehouses here in the UK.”
Four out of Five Workers Want a Shorter Work Week
This call has come after research by the TUC revealed that most workers expect managers and shareholders will reap the benefits of new technology. According to a survey of 2,000 workers, four out of five wanted to cut their working hours without loss of pay as new technology makes work more efficient.
Citing the “always on” work culture, which sees staff work unpredictable or unsocial hours, O’Grady has said that employers are using new technology to exploit workers unfairly: “Bosses and shareholders must not be allowed to hoover up all the gains from new tech for themselves.
“Working people deserve their fair share – and that means using the gains from new tech to raise pay and allow more time with their families. If productivity gains from new technology are even half as good as promised then the country can afford to make working lives better.”