Union leader urges four-day working week 'with decent pay for everyone'

New technology should pave the way for a shorter working week and higher pay, a union leader is urging.

Monday, 10th September 2018, 11:49 am
Updated Monday, 10th September 2018, 12:56 pm
Should we be working a four day week?

Frances O'Grady, general secretary of the TUC, called for a four-day week, so workers could share the wealth generated by technological advances.

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She will tell the TUC Congress in Manchester: "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.

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Should we be working a four day week?

"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."

Research by the TUC showed that most workers expect managers and shareholders will reap the benefits of new technology.

A survey of over 2,000 workers found that four out of five wanted to cut their working hours without loss of pay as new technology makes work more efficient.

The TUC says moves should be made to cut the working week to four days over the course of this century.

Employers were accused of making staff work unpredictable or unsocial hours because of an "always on" culture.

Frances O'Grady said too many firms were using technology to treat 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," she said.

"If productivity gains from new technology are even half as good as promised then the country can afford to make working lives better."