January 23, 2021

United We Can Press to Open Four-Day Work Week Debate



Work four days and free three, this is the working week that the Government is studying to regulate in Spain, as advanced yesterday by the second vice president of the Government and minister of Social Rights and Agenda 2030, Pablo Iglesias. Even though this very week The More Country amendment to the Budgets was rejected so that companies can benefit from this reduction in working hoursIglesias did not hesitate to put pressure on the rest of the coalition Executive and advanced in an interview that Labor now “explores” this labor modality within the framework of “social dialogue.” “We have always been in favor of reducing the working day. The proposal is interesting and I know that Yolanda Díaz’s Ministry of Labor is studying her, and within the framework of social dialogue it will be explored because it would undoubtedly favor job creation, “he added.

Díaz herself -minister of United We Can- left the door open on Twitter on Thursday to talk to regulate this work week in the future and did not hesitate to “upload” the video of the aforementioned interview with Iglesias. «Working time demands a new conception, which crosses, as we are already doing, labor laws and customs. The reduction of working hours, the control of overtime, the right to disconnect or work-life balance are elements that must be discussed in this necessary debate, ”the minister said.

The amendment presented – and rejected – by the party led by Íñigo Errejón proposed an investment of 50 million euros in incentives for companies that took advantage of this 32-hour workweek. During his speech, Errejón argued that his amendment contains “a pilot project” so that companies that so choose can carry out the transition to this four-day or 32-hour workweek accompanied, as appropriate. The leader of Más País took the opportunity to describe as “good news” that the Executive is analyzing this initiative despite the fact that it was not able to introduce it as an amendment in the public accounts. He also recalled that this has already been approved in the Valencian Community and that it is expected to be launched in the coming months.

Voices in favor

During the months of strict confinement, various organizations were in favor of this measure to restrict the movement of workers and consequently, infections. The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, was one of the first to raise the possibility of introducing this work week into her country four days as a way to boost consumption after the restrictions of the first wave of the pandemic.

Japan’s main employer, Keidanren, has also recommended that companies introduce this measure in conjunction with remote work and rotating shifts in order to avoid crowds in public transport. In Germany, the country’s largest union, IG Metall, has put the four-day work week on the table for discussion as a way of adapting to new productive needs and to save jobs in the industry. Within Spain, the industrial section of UGT proposed a few months ago the implementation of 32 hours a week to assume the reconfiguration of the automotive sector after the pandemic.

Pioneers in Spain

Within Spain there are already companies that have opted for this work week on their own. The pioneer in our country was Software Delsol, located in Mengíbar (Jaén). From the company they explain that a majority of the employees work from Monday to Thursday, but that the customer service staff is distributed the day off on a rotating basis. No member of the staff has seen their salary reduced after the implementation of this measure. In conversation with ABC a few months ago, Head of Communication and Institutional Relations at Software Delsol, Juan Antonio Mallenco reported that the experience had been “super positive.”

“Absenteeism was low, but it has decreased even more. Also, the work horizon that is seen when starting work on Mondays is shorter and this implies a psychological motivation. No income has been touched, we continue to receive the same and the annual salary increase established in the agreement is maintained, “he remarked.

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