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Most workers want shorter working week, survey finds

MOST workers in industries including engineering, shipbuilding and automotive want a shorter working week with no loss of pay, according to new research.

A survey of almost 2,400 workers by the Institute of Employment Rights (IER) showed that more than nine out of 10 supported a cut in the working week.

The Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions (CSEU), which conducted the poll, said that the majority of respondents believed the most important benefit would be a better work-life balance and improved mental and physical health.

Ian Waddell, the confederation’s general secretary, said: “The Covid pandemic has caused a huge shift in the attitudes of workers to the time they spend at work and the balance with the rest of their lives outside work.

“This report should give the trade union movement the confidence to launch full-throated campaigns for a step change in working time with no reduction in pay.

“It is over 30 years since the last substantial reduction in working time. Productivity has increased exponentially since then but the rewards have not been shared equally with workers. A reduction in working time with no loss of pay is long overdue.”

The report found that workers are putting in longer hours than their counterparts in any country in Europe and were suffering from high rates of work-related stress, depression or anxiety and musculoskeletal disorders.

Joe Ryle, director of the 4-Day Week Campaign, said: “British workers across the economy are desperate for a shorter working week.

“The nine to five, five-day working week is outdated and no longer fit for purpose.”

The world’s biggest four-day working week pilot is under way in Britain with more than 70 companies and 3,300 workers taking part.


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