Four day working week would protect Welsh workers from rise of the machines says Plaid MS
A four day working week will protect the Welsh economy against a future where machines will do many jobs, according to a Plaid Cymru Senedd Member.
Plaid Cymru will lead a debate in the Senedd today, calling on Welsh Government to adopt a four-day working week pilot in Wales.
Luke Fletcher, Plaid Cymru’s economy spokesperson, pointed to the growing threat of automation which many fear will create mass redundancies.
However if automation benefits are shared over society and coupled with the introduction of a four day week, this could “future proof the Welsh economy,” he said.
“A four day week would have four-fold benefits: It’s good for well-being, it’s good for the economy, it’s good for the environment and it’s good for our communities,” he said.
“Ever lurking in the background is the dual threat and promise of automation – the chance to free workers from the grind of long hours, set against the fear of mass redundancies as people are replaced by machines.
“A four day working week could future proof the Welsh economy, as long as the productivity gains from advances in automation, and the time saved by workers, is shared across our society.”
‘Lead the world’
Plaid Cymru are proposing that the Senedd:
- Recognises the change in work practices as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and that this has brought with it many wellbeing and work-life balance benefits.
- Believes that reforming working practices to meet the challenges of the automation revolution is necessary.
- Notes with interest that governments in Scotland, Spain and Ireland are planning national-level pilots for a four-day working week.
- Recognises pilots of a four-day working week in Iceland were an overwhelming success and led to many workers moving to shorter hours with no reduction in pay.
- Calls on the Welsh Government to establish a four-day working week pilot in Wales to explore the benefits to all Welsh workers, the economy and the environment.
He added that Covid-19 had already changed work practices and shone a light on inequalities in society, “not least that the burden of unpaid work falls most heavily on women”.
“Freeing up an extra non-working day could help shift the balance, and also creates the opportunities for people to engage more in their local communities,” he said.
“Perhaps equally compelling is it would instantly reduce our carbon footprint, from one less day spent commuting to work.
“If we are to future-proof the Welsh economy, we need innovative and forward thinking policy solutions, and Plaid Cymru’s proposal for a four day week could see Wales lead the world in a cultural paradigm shift that could bring benefits to all.”