John McDonnell: Labour considering four-day working week

The Shadow Chancellor has said the party is contemplating backing the TUC's calls to reduce the working week down to four days.

John McDonnell said the party was going to take a “look at the working week” as part of the process of drafting the 2022 Labour manifesto.

Labour is understood to be investigating how the increasing use of robots and automation can help improve working conditions rather than undermine them.

“We have got to make sure in the fourth industrial revolution that workers get the benefits of this [automation] as well and that might be reducing hours of work." McDonnell told the BBC’s Sunday Politics.

“We work the longest hours in Europe and yet we are less productive. The Germans and French produce in four days what we produce in five and yet we work the longest hours.” he added.

The proposals would see workers paid a full salary, which the organisation has argued is possible due to advances in technology.

The Trade Unions Congress has also called for the policy, with General Secretary, Frances O'Grady, arguing: “In the 19th century, unions campaigned for an eight-hour day. In the 20th century, we won the right to a two-day weekend and paid holidays."

“So, for the 21st century, let’s lift our ambition again. I believe that in this century we can win a four-day working week, with decent pay for everyone. It’s time to share the wealth from new technology, not allow those at the top to grab it for themselves.”

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