According to a new study, 95% of Irish workers are in favour of a four-day workweek.
Trade unions will be key to establishing a four-day week on workers’ terms and crucially, with no cuts to pay. Unions won the eight-hour day in the last century, and without them, the weekend as we know it would not exist. The four-day week is the next step to expanding workers’ leisure time, and to win this, workers will need to be organised.
Thanks in large part to automation and technological advances, employers have seen huge productivity gains in the last two decades. However, these gains have gone to the bosses in the form of profits, while workers have not seen their fair share. Today, workers and their families are stretched further than they have been in decades.
In the largest trial globally so far, a recent UK-based trial of 61 companies that reduced the work week to four days – or an average of 34 hours across the week – found that measures of workers’ stress, burnout, and sleep problems fell, while life and job satisfaction increased, and physical and mental health improved.
The trial shows that workers are happier, better rested, and more active with their families and communities. They even recycled more.
The four-day week for workers is long overdue. Many employers will cry for mercy whenever changes to working conditions favour workers. But in the end, society as a whole improves when workers win.
Talk to your union branch about backing a motion to support a workers’ four-day week.