Campaigning for a shorter working week
Campaigning for a shorter working week is part of the CSEU’s DNA. At the end of the 1980s we ran the ‘Drive for 35’ campaign to reduce working time down from 39 hours a week. Using tactics which had been developed by the German union IG Metall, we won a 37-hour week after adopting a strategy of mass campaigning, followed by selective, indefinite strike action.
The idea of a shorter working week and the proven benefits it can bring to productivity, work life balance, diversity and equality is back in fashion. Public support for a shorter working week is on the increase as a result of automation and the changing way that work is being valued following on from the Coronovirus lockdown.
We wanted to frame the arguments in a modern setting and have worked closely with the New Economics Forum to look into the correlation between working time, productivity and the role of unions.