Tracking the four-day working week movement

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The Trades Union Congress (TUC), which represents most trade unions in England and Wales, has called for the implementation of a four-day working week. It says this can happen this century if businesses are forced to share the profits from new technology and automation with the workforce.

However, 51 percent of people TUC surveyed said they expected such profits would go to managers and shareholders. TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady plans to address the issue at the TUC annual conference this week, according to Sky News.

O’Grady will say “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 … this century we can win a four-day working week, with decent pay for everyone”.

Places with four-day working week

America

  • From 2008-2011, government employees of Utah state all began working 10-hour days from Monday to Thursday (CNN).

Africa

  • From 2013-2017, Gambia had a four-day workweek, with 10-hour working days. Then Gambia’s new president, Adama Barrow, made Fridays a half-day of work.

New Zealand

  • New Zealand firm Perpetual Guardian let its employees work four days a week while being paid for five in a two month trial this year (New York Times). After it found productivity increased, the firm is looking into making the change permanent.

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History of Work

Most employed people had to wait till the early and mid twentieth century for an eight-hour day to be widely achieved in the industrialized world.

UK – In 1840 the average worker worked 69-hour weeks, according to The Huffington PostWomen and children in England were granted the 10-hour day in 1847.

France –  After the February Revolution of 1848, the working day was reduced to 10 hours in Paris and 11 in the provinces (Bechuza 1983).

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Campaigns for four-day working week

Hoursopentoclose.com – a retail niche website, published a great Infographic about 4-day workweek, Advantages and Disadvantages.

  • Add calls for four-day working week here

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