Union calls for more public holidays, increased remote working and four-day week

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Trade union Fórsa is calling for more public holidays, an increase in remote working and the introduction of a four-day working week.

educed working time is better for business, workers, women and the environment, it said.

Ireland’s largest public sector union is calling for pilot projects to explore the feasibility of a four-day working week without loss of pay or productivity.

Speaking at the Fórsa biennial conference today, the union’s vice-president Eugene Gargan said automation and other new technologies were set to erode “vast volumes” of routine work.

He said we need to “break through the 19th century notions” that the value of work is measured in the number of hours put in.

“As automation increases productivity, reduced working time without loss of pay is the means of sharing the benefits of new technology and sharing the available work. The same thing happened in previous technological revolutions, which led to reduced working time.

“This proposal is an imaginative and realistic response to the radical changes that are occurring in technology, work organisation, and working time,” he said.

Studies showed workers are at their most valuable when not fatigued, Mr Gargan added.

A conference motion proposed by the union’s national executive called for working time and working patterns to be fundamentally reviewed and reformed “in light of the experience of the Covid-19 crisis”.

The union raised the need for an increase in the number of public holidays. Ireland currently has just nine public holidays, the lowest number in the EU.

Remote working was also raised at the conference, with the union calling on the Government to open a dialogue with unions and employers aimed at strengthening the legal framework around remote working.

A survey on remote working, which was conducted for the union by Amarách Research last summer, revealed a huge appetite for working from home, with most respondents favouring a hybrid model where they blend time worked remotely and in the workplace. It found that 86pc of respondents were interested in working remotely.

Over 80pc of those who favoured home working expressed a preference for a hybrid arrangement.

Online Editors

Source: Irish News