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Governments throughout Europe are facing increasingly louder calls to introduce the shortened working by politicians and trade unions in the respective countries. They claim reducing working hours is vital for the “advancement of civilisation” and would improve mental health as well as reduce carbon emissions. In Britain, Labour’s former shadow chancellor John McDonnell is a leading voice in the campaign for such proposals, alongside Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and Len McCluskey, general secretary of the Labour-affiliated Unite union.
Campaigners including politicians from Germany and Spain have written a letter to push for the change to be considered, arguing for a reduction in working hours, while remaining on full pay.
They also claim the implementation of such proposals could help unemployment levels, which have risen significantly throughout Europe during the coronavirus pandemic.
But Express.co.uk readers have torn apart the idea in our latest poll, which asked: “Do you agree with Labour MPs’ plans for a four-day working week?”
The poll, which ran from 8am until 10pm on Tuesday November 17, saw a huge 87 percent (5,383 readers) vote against the proposal.
The remaining 13 percent (708 readers) agreeing with the introduction of the shortened working week, whole less than one percent (57 readers) were undecided.
Express.co.uk readers ridiculed the idea of a four-day working week, lashing out at the Labour Party and claiming it is particularly unworkable when the country is still financially “on its knees” in the struggle against coronavirus.
One said: “When the country is on its knees financially due to COVID?
“Only Labour could suggest we have a four-day week. Mind boggling.”
A second reader wrote: “Work less hours to aid recovery? Only Labour could think that would work.”
Another person commented: “Companies could not afford to pay five days of salaries for four days work.
“The productivity would fall and we would soon be bankrupt.
A fourth person added: “Labour are completely incapable of coming up with new ideas.
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“This has been tried and failed spectacularly before.”
In their letter pushing for the introduction of a shortened working week, the group of politicians and trade unions wrote: “Throughout history, shorter working hours have been used during times of crisis and economic recession as a way of sharing work more equally across the economy between the unemployed and the overemployed.
“For the advancement of civilisation and the good society, now is the moment to seize the opportunity and move towards shorter working hours with no loss of pay.”
In the lead-up to last December’s general election, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Mr McDonnell had pledged to reduce working hours for Britons if the party could succeed in unseating the Conservative Party from power.
He had proposed reducing the average working week by five hours to 32 hours within the next decade, without Britons losing out on any pay.
A report from the Health and Safety Executive showed nearly 18 million days were lost in 2019/20 because of work-related mental health issues.
The research also revealed 828,000 workers had experienced work-related stress, depression and anxiety during the same period.
Responding to the statistics, 4 Day Week Campaign activist Joe Ryle said: “These statistics are shocking and show that the UK desperately needs shorter working hours and a four-day working week to allow workers the time to breathe.
“It’s very worrying that for the first time ever, mental health is now the biggest single cause of work-related ill health and working days lost.
“The four-day working week is popular across the country and it’s time for the government, businesses and the trade unions to work together to make it a reality.”
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