Fórsa wants shorter working week for all
by Bernard Harbor

Fórsa has put its weight behind a campaign for a reduction in working time for employees in all sectors of the economy.


The union’s conference last week adopted a motion mandating its national executive to work with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and others to achieve better work-life balance through a shorter working week.


Germany’s largest private sector unions recently achieved working time reductions after putting the issue at the centre of its bargaining priorities.


Fórsa deputy general secretary Kevin Callinan said union members had only voted for the Haddington Road deal, which increased working time for many public servants, to avoid further cuts in pay and public services during the economic crisis.


“Now that circumstances have improved, the issue of working time is, just like pay, legitimately part of the restoration agenda,” he said.


Significant numbers of public servants – over 400 in the civil service alone – have opted to revert to pre-Haddington Road hours, with a proportionate reduction in pay, under a provision in the recently-adopted Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA).


Kevin said the issue would be a priority in talks on a successor to the PSSA. “We are currently in the fifth month of a three-year agreement, so our approach must be to shape the next bargaining opportunity, which could be two years away.


“And our strategy will have to be a national one based on the previously accepted and understood standard working week in the different sectors rather than any local arrangements that may have operated,” he said.

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