Welsh Conservatives attack plans for four-day working week trial
The Welsh Conservatives have attacked plans for a four-day working week to be trialled in Wales.
Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Social Partnership, Joel James MS, claimed a curtailed working week would be “of no benefit to the hard-working Welsh families in the real world”
Mr James made the comments following the publication of the Senedd Petitions Committee’s report From Five to Four?: Support trials of a four-day week in Wales, published earlier today.
“Once again, Labour and their nationalist coalition partners have completely missed the mark and are focussing on all the wrong issues, the South Wales Central MS said.
“The proposed four-day working week has the very real danger of creating a two-tier society where private sector workers are left to pick up the slack left behind by the public sector. While this policy may appeal to the Cardiff Bay bubble, it would be of no benefit to the hard-working Welsh families in the real world.
“The people of Wales need Labour ministers to focus on reducing the record-breaking waiting times in the Welsh NHS, the only part of the UK to have growing child poverty and a housing crisis of Labour’s making – not reducing the working hours of civil servants.”
Launching the report, Jack Sargeant MS, Chair of the Senedd Petitions Committee, told Nation.Cymru that people in Wales currently have some of the longest working hours in Europe.
He said Wales should lead the way in exploring a four-day working week and believes it could boost productivity, wellbeing and the economy.
“It is a bold proposal but no bolder than those campaigners who fought for a five-day week, paid holiday and sick pay which we now take for granted,” said Mr Sargeant.
“When we’re calling for a four-day week we’re (talking about) reducing the working hours within an organisation, but not a reduction in the rate of pay. There are a number of trials out there which suggests that productivity increases.
“As for staff morale – we can see the troubles of employees across the UK at the moment where morale is particularly low.”
After gathering evidence, the Senedd’s Petitions Committee recommends that the Welsh Government conducts pilots – within the devolved public sector.
Countries such as Iceland, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Belgium, New Zealand and Japan are already making serious moves towards trialling or introducing new working patterns.
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