Motion 26 and amendments
Congress notes that the weekend was won by trade unions, securing greater freedom for working people from the domination of employers. Our movement should be proud of this achievement.
But Congress notes there has been little progress in further freeing working people, that working hours in the UK are now amongst the highest in Europe, and that during the pandemic they increased further, with people working from home putting in an average of six hours unpaid overtime per week.
Congress notes that long working hours and lack of work/life balance are associated with worsening mental and physical health. Pilots of longer weekends have been successful, with workers reporting that their health and work/life balance had improved.
Congress further notes that an increase in leisure time now enjoys broad public support.
Congress believes that working people must be able to exercise more freedom over their time. Reduced hours can increase overall employment and protect jobs.
Congress believes it is vital that trade unions seize this moment to campaign for a shorter working week, with no loss of pay, and that we must lead on making this a reality for workers in the UK.
Congress notes that the growth of automation has brought new urgency to this debate. We must strive for workers to benefit from new technologies and associated productivity improvements.
Congress therefore resolves to:
i. plan and launch a public campaign for a three-day weekend/four-day working week, including political lobbying, and an effort to build popular support for the policy – the four-day week/extended weekend should be a reduction in overall hours worked, with no loss of pay
ii. set up a working group of trade union representatives, to discuss how to plan and campaign for its implementation in each sector
iii.dedicate resources to political education on the importance of winning free time for working people.
Mover: University and College Union
Seconder: Communication Workers Union
Supporter: National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers