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Four day working week would protect Welsh workers from rise of the machines says Plaid MS

22 Sep 2021 3 minutes Read
Robotic arm, picture by PxFuel. Luke Fletcher (inset) screengrab from Senedd TV.

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.”

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Adda
Adda
1 month ago

Amen

Ric
Ric
1 month ago

Globalisation, the practice of offshoring and short-termism make this a pipe dream.

Dai Rob
Dai Rob
1 month ago

Good way to reduce wages costs, I suppose!!

Jon
Jon
24 days ago
Reply to  Dai Rob

Article says with no reduction in pay. It works well where other places have tried it. People have more rest and can just bring their best selves to work.

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 month ago

From what I have seen in Finland, they are screaming for more skilled workers, so I am not pessimistic about this. What we may require is aim to produce more diploma engineers and techs.

hdavies15
hdavies15
29 days ago
Reply to  j humphrys

Certainly will need better trained and broader based technician skills to ensure upkeep of the technology. Teachers and parents will need to stop encouraging Tomos and Jen bach towards drama or the public sector/local authority admin jobs and rediscover electrical, electronics, mechatronics, systems eng. Of course that will require a bit more interest in maths and sciences in school instead of playing about with social studies and other “soft” subjects. As for the working week politicians need to learn that the work patterns will vary dramatically between sectors and even within companies. Enforcing a 30 hour week in one company… Read more »

Jack
Jack
29 days ago

I love the idea of this in theory but I work 5 days a week, 35 hour weeks, and I’m extremely busy, occasionally having to work overtime in order to get projects completed. I do have questions about how a 4 day week would work in reality.

Cricktruth
Cricktruth
29 days ago

We should definitely try it – I mean the Welsh public sector ( 95 percent of the workforce) have been on 4 days a week since 1970

Jon
Jon
24 days ago

Can we decide what a working week should be as well. I work at Admiral where it’s 40 hours (other companies like mine it’s 35 hours with better pay etc). I can work at home now so working for one of them looks like the way forward.

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