Fresh call for four-day working week from Irish Congress of Trade Unions 1 month ago

Fresh call for four-day working week from Irish Congress of Trade Unions

Is it time?

Kevin Callinan, incoming president of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, has indicated that the trade union sector should campaign for the introduction of a four-day working week in Ireland.

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Callinan told those attending the ICTU biennial delegate conference that he wishes to see trade unions secure support from business and government across the island of Ireland for both private and public sector four-day week pilot programmes.

According to the Irish Times, Callinan encouraged the building of links between trade unions and organisations that campaign for a four-day working week.

The ICTU president said that trade unions should "lead advocacy efforts for expanded access to remote, blended and hybrid working post-pandemic, alongside greater remote working protections”.

Callinan added that his organisation should “work with affiliate unions to drive campaigns for legislation on the right to disconnect and the right to flexible working, with strong enforcement mechanisms".

Calls for a four-day working week in Ireland continue to grow.

Last summer, the Four Day Week Ireland campaign urged employers to introduce a four-day week for their staff over a six-month period starting in January 2022.

A pilot programme, developed by Four Day Week Ireland, includes business supports and advice that will help organisations explore flexible working.

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Speaking in June on the prospect of a reduced working week, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said:

"It’s too early to say whether a four-day working week could work in Ireland. The idea is ambitious, to achieve the same outcomes and productivity, for the same pay with 20% fewer hours worked.

"I can see how that might work for some roles but it’s hard to see how it would work in others particularly in health, education and manufacturing for example.

"But we need to keep an open mind when it comes to innovations in the world of work. Ideas like annual leave, maternity and paternity leave and flexitime were once seen to be radical and are now the norm."

Earlier this month, an employment expert predicted "a raft of resignations" as office work returns.

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"People will quit their jobs if they are not getting what they want," said Dr. Nigel Paine, former Chief Learning Officer at the BBC.

"These are smart, engaged people who have good jobs but they are quitting because the organisations are not delivering what they want.

“Workers are thinking they only have one life and are looking at whether or not their job holds value for them anymore. Organisations will be working out how they can keep people and throwing money at it won’t help at all."