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Wales’ four-day week trial plan ‘Soviet’ says Telegraph newspaper

20 Feb 2022 3 minutes Read
Mark Drakeford. Picture by CPMR – Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Plans in Wales to explore the possibility of a four-day week have been branded “Soviet” by the Telegraph newspaper.

Wales’ future generations commissioner, Sophie Howe, called on Monday for the Welsh government to launch a shorter working week trial.

But according to the Telegraph‘s Chief City Commentator, Ben Marlowe, “Wales’s Soviet experiment with the four-day week will backfire” as there is “a danger that people will soon object to the very concept of work itself”.

“It is perhaps no surprise that the Welsh government, which seems determined to keep its population under lockdown indefinitely under hapless First Minister Mark Drakeford, is mulling a trial on the spurious basis that it will mean a better work-life balance, boost productivity, create thousands of new jobs, and reduced carbon emissions,” he said.

“A more likely outcome is that the work rate falls largely in line with the reduction in working hours. This is what happened in Sweden when a four-day week was introduced in 2015. So, rather than receiving the same pay for fewer hours, workers would more than likely have to accept a corresponding fall in incomes.”

The future generations commissioner Sophie Howe argued that it could eventually mean increased productivity and savings for society if it led to a healthier workforce.

A report by the commissioner and think tank Autonomy found that almost 60% said they would support the Welsh government piloting a four day week scheme and about two-thirds would ideally work a four-day week.

“It’s clear that following the pandemic, people across Wales are re-evaluating their priorities in life and looking for a healthier work-life balance,” she said.

“The escalating demands of caring for loved ones due to an ageing population and an increase in mental health issues, exacerbated by working long hours, are just some of the factors that make a shorter working week more appealing.

“The working week has not changed for more than 100 years and now seems the perfect opportunity for the Welsh Government to commit to a pioneering trial and build evidence for greater change across Wales.”

Senedd Member Jack Sargeant said that he backed a shorter working week: “We work some of the longest hours in Europe and this is clearly detrimental to workers’ lives and, the evidence suggests, to productivity as well.

“Those that oppose it make the same tired arguments that opponents of progress have always made,” he said. “The workplace and our lives are changing. Automation and AI will change it even more. A shorter week would be a great way of giving working people some of the fruits of these changes.”


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Mark
Mark
3 months ago

So, the USA, Japan, India, New Zealand and Iceland are all Soviet based countries, when will the UK realise we’re being run by a right wing dictatorship, for the good of all nations that make up the UK, the Conservative movement needs to be destroyed before they destroy us.

Paul M
Paul M
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark
Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
3 months ago

I don’t think that there will be much choice in the future. Trials in Japan, New Zealand and the USA show up to 23% savings in energy, the obvious 20% savings on fuel and transport, higher productivity, greater customer satisfaction and far higher sales per employee.
As energy and transportation become ever more costly there will inevitably be a move away from collective work back to a kind of cottage industry, work-from-home society. Human nature is such that societal changes need big events to move them. Covid could have as much effect as when the plagues ended serfdom and feudalism.

Kurt C
Kurt C
3 months ago

Fascist rag would say that. Ignore the Tory graph. Governmentsvonly responsibility is our wellbeing. Let’s see whan ours can find in Cymru.

Richard 1
Richard 1
3 months ago

By what stretch does the Torygraph call Drakeford “hapless”? = “unlucky” or “unhappy”

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
3 months ago

I see that all the papers are quoting Fat Shanks…Johnson say’s this, Johnson say’s that…there will soon be a little blue book of Johnson’s sayings just like Chairman Mao…The lies that built modern England…and our news editors repeat them daily…

Arwyn
Arwyn
3 months ago

And Mark Drakeford will still say we should retain the UK. The British left is hollow. It has nothing to offer Wales but more years of Tory misrule. Welsh Labour need to wake up and stand up for Wales. A democratic Welsh State is the answer … the sooner the better.

Paul M
Paul M
3 months ago
Reply to  Arwyn

One side of my family is Welsh. I used to keep quiet when independence was ever brought up (I didn’t see how it would be possible). Now I’ve moved to Wales myself, I’m increasingly convinced that Wales can sever itself from Westminster and succeed. It’s not like Westminster cares about Wales anyway – only a few of seats up for grabs here.

Dewi Williamswhat
Dewi Williamswhat
3 months ago

It is very interesting to note that, usually, whereas Wales is merely an afterthought in attracting this publications’ attention, cynically and suspiciously, in more recent times, it is suddenly showing a growing unhealthy interest in the affairs of Wales and its Welsh administration. What is now happening in Wales within its UK context has become very worrying!! The unexpected positive potency of a non-right wing devolved government must be working too well against the odds and needs critical attention. “Hapless Drakeford”? Surely, the writer must have had Boris in mind when deciding such name calling.

hdavies15
hdavies15
3 months ago

They haven’t got much of an active Labour party in England so the MSM come west to find a bogey man – Drakeford ! MSM are ever so comfy with Starmer, they might get fidgety if the wildcat Rayner took the leadership. She’s got some cojones that one and a mouth to match. Which is good. The UK needs people to challenge the Boris Falange and their “full of righteous entitlement” attitude. There’s much about Rayner and some about Drakeford that I don’t agree with but when it comes to accountability and recent track record I find them more palatable.… Read more »

Paul M
Paul M
3 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

They haven’t got much of an active Labour party in England

What an odd thing to say.

MSM

URGH. This is the UK. We’re not Americans. We haven’t had a PM (yet) who has convinced half the country that traditional news outlets are all part of some conspiracy.

Malcolmrj
Malcolmrj
3 months ago

The only answer to the English telegraph paper slagin of Wales and Mark Drakford is for people in Wales is not buying that paper just like the people of Liverpool don’t buy the SUN newspaper after What that paper said about Liverpool supporters after the disaster that killed All them supporters

hdavies15
hdavies15
3 months ago

I don’t think the 4 day week as a hard and fast concept will be a workable proposition. What we do need is a more flexible attitude to work where people can agree work patterns that suit them and the business they work in. Large scale agreements that tie people to 35-37-40 hours a week or more are onerous when people nowadays are saddled with domestic, caring and other responsibilities. Even worse are those arrangements that tie people to minimal hours “on call”.

Is it beyond the wit of managers and people’s union representatives to create flexible working regimes ?

Paul M
Paul M
3 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Spot on. It’s about being a lot more flexible.

With the caveat that there’s plenty of 4 Day Week success stories from around the world.

Flexibility is the key. And decent management will be target-driven, rather than advocates of presenteeism.

Mick Tems
Mick Tems
3 months ago

The far-right lie factory would say that, wouldn’t they? Don’t buy The Torygraph!

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
3 months ago

The Tory papers hate any idea which may actually help you and I. Our society has been dictated by the philosophy of work before all else for decades. That has generally only benefited those at the top, virtually no money trickles down to you or I. Particularly over the last 40 years the rich have grown richer and inequality has skyrocketed. That’s what the Tories and the billionaire owners of rags like the Telegraph want, a continuation of the rot. As an independent nation we would finally have a chance to change all this.

KC Gordon
KC Gordon
3 months ago

‘working week has not changed for more than a 100 years’ – actually it is less than that – working Saturday morning and a six day week in retail was the norm until at least the mid 5os

Ed Jones
Ed Jones
3 months ago

When the owners of the Torygraph began to pay their taxes I will care what their once respected newspaper prints, until then, shush!

thugee
thugee
3 months ago

Way ahead of you Benny boy, some of us want to abolish work altogether.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
3 months ago

This is the same Tory toilet paper who supported Thatcher sending in the police to beat black & blue
striking miners protesting over pay & conditions. Very Soviet.

To use the might of the state, not only crush decent, but to destroy lives & communities too in the process cynically citing it was done to protect the environment when the real reason was buying in cheaper coal from Poland.

Last edited 3 months ago by Y Cymro
Charles Coombes
Charles Coombes
3 months ago

Trials of 4 day have made companies more productive and their staff happier. Big idsue is do you have Monday or Friday off.

Paul M
Paul M
3 months ago

Or… maybe work half day Monday and Friday, then full days for the other three. That’d work.

Anyway yes I agree. Other European countries long ago found longer hours didn’t mean greater productivity. So they mandated shorter hours. Productivity unchanged or better.

Meanwhile in the US, long hours, and a culture of not taking paid leave. Productivity? Not so good!

Flexibility is important.

Argol Fawr.
Argol Fawr.
3 months ago

Have as many days off as you like! Just don’t expect to be paid for them.

Mawkernewek
3 months ago

The Soviet attitute to work-life balance isn’t what the Telegraph thinks.
It was satirised by the novel by the Strugatsky brothers, entitled <a href=”https://www.worldcat.org/title/monday-begins-on-saturday/oclc/922389710&referer=brief_results”>Monday Begins on Saturday</a>

Richard
Richard
3 months ago

Why should we give a damn about whatsome idiot English journalists working for Tory rags say !

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