Labour 'considering four-day working week' amid growing technological advances

Posted On: 
30th September 2018

Labour is reportedly considering introducing a four-day working week as part of a move to share the benefits of technological advances with staff.

Labour's frontbench are reportedly considering the plans for a shorter working week
PA Images

The party is said to be looking at how the rise of robots and artificial intelligence can be used to benefit workers rather than just those at the top of companies.

The Sunday Times says the proposals - which already have the support of the TUC - would mean employees are paid the same as they are under a standard five-day week.

John McDonnell: Workers in line for £500 payouts under Labour employee ownership scheme

Labour vow to make companies put workers on boards

John McDonnell: Labour will give workers financial stake in companies

A senior Labour Party source told paper: “A policy review is expected to be announced before the end of the year.

"It won’t happen overnight but a four-day working week is an aspiration that fits in with the party’s approach to rebalancing the economy in favour of the worker as well as the party’s overall industrial strategy.”

The Labour-comissioned 'Alternative Models of Ownership' reported - produced for the shadow cabinet by external experts last year - also floated a "shorter working week to fairly share productivity gains".

The Sunday Times says the party is now considering that document’s recommendations after announcing that the next manifesto will be “more radical than the last”.

It comes weeks after TUC chair Frances O’Grady told her organistion's conference that reducing the working week should be an “ambition" for unions.

"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,” she said.

“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."

Tory MP Kevin Hollinrake heaped scorn on the plans, telling The Sun on Sunday: "To think we can work less and less at a time when there are lots of other pressures that are going to hit the economy, it’s ludicrous."

A Labour Party spokesperson meanwhile told the paper: “A four-day working week is not party policy and it is not being considered by the party.”