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LABOUR is considering plans to implement a 35-hour working week by 2030 and end the travesty of workers forced to work long hours to pay bills.
The plans come after recommendations into working hours by cross-bench peer Lord Robert Skidelsky were released in an independent report today.
Mr Skidelsky’s report was based on the premise “that a reduction in hours of necessary work should be a natural and desirable outcome of a progressive society.”
His report, which was commissioned by shadow chancellor John McDonnell, recommends legislation “to achieve a 35-hour working week in the public sector over the next 10 years.”
Other recommendations include the establishment of sectoral social partnership forums involving employers and trade unions and the use of state procurement policies to establish pay, conditions and hours in the private sector.
Mr Skidelsky also called for an end to the Tories’ opt-out provision from the 2003 European Union Working Time Directive, which introduced a maximum working week of 48 hours.
He concluded that a reduction in working hours “is both desirable ethically and desired by most people.
“Even though some people are compelled to work shorter hours than they want to, most people are compelled to work longer hours than they want to.”
The report comes as Labour is considering whether it would pledge to introduce a four-day working week in government.
Speaking at the launch of the report Mr McDonnell said: “Something is very wrong with how the world of work has changed in recent years.
“Millions are working long hours, while others don’t get the regular hours they need.
“Parents pass in the night between shifts and never have time together, just to ensure they can survive.”
The report says the government should guarantee a job or training to any jobseeker who cannot find work in the private sector, at a fixed hourly rate which should not be lower than the national living wage.
Labour will consider including the recommendations in its manifesto for the next general election.
“We’re rapidly writing the manifesto and the findings of this report will go into our policy-making process,” Mr McDonnell said.
“There is a great need for intervention to break into the circle of stagnant real wages and flattening hours of work.”
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