Fórsa has been at the forefront of a campaign for a four-day working week, which will be launched in Dublin tomorrow (Thursday). The campaign will advocate for a transition to a shorter working week, with no reduction in pay, for workers in both the private and public sectors.
The coalition, which is the Irish leg of an international campaign, features participants from business, trade unions, environmental groups and women’s organisations.
The keynote speaker will be Andrew Barnes, founder of New Zealand company Perpetual Guardian, which won international acclaim when it introduced a four-day week for its 250 staff last year.
The chief executive officer of Galway firm ICE, which has also successfully introduced a four-day week, is also signed up to the campaign. Others involved in the launch include Fórsa general secretary Kevin Callinan, Laura Bambrick of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, and speakers from Friends of the Earth, the National Women’s Council, and Maynooth University.
The event will outline the economic, societal, democratic and environmental benefits that could arise from a reduction in working time, and will set out the campaign’s next steps.
Fórsa’s campaigns director Joe O’Connor said it’s time to put the issue of working time at the centre of the political agenda:
“We must remember that the weekend was considered an unaffordable luxury until around the middle of the twentieth century. With the huge economic growth in recent years due to advancements in technology, it’s only right that workers receive their fair share of the benefits,” he said.
The concept of a four-day week has already been met with large political interest in other countries. Earlier this week, the UK Labour party announced a commitment to transition to a 32-hour working week with no reduction in pay within the next ten years.