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4 Day Week

(135 Posts)
Anniebach Tue 11-Sep-18 10:33:39

At the TUC conference yesterday - a 4 day week for workers

Who will benefit , who will lose?

GrannyGravy13 Tue 11-Sep-18 10:46:35

A small business like ours would definitely suffer. Our Trade Counter opens from 8am - 6pm Mon - Fri, and 8 am- 12.30pm on Sat.

We need staff with specialist knowledge, try to get younger people in but struggle as they are not really interested in learning product details/applications.

Really cannot see it working for us.

Anniebach Tue 11-Sep-18 10:53:10

They want a four day week plus higher wages GrannyGravy

grannysue05 Tue 11-Sep-18 10:57:03

It got me thinking that if employers see a job can be done in four days rather than five ....!
What next ?
Work even harder in those four days in order to 'deserve' the extra day off ?
How will it work ?
I don't think its practical.

GrannyGravy13 Tue 11-Sep-18 11:23:58

We pay above the so called "living wage". Our staff members are a happy easy going lot.

I think higher wages and 4 days would be a bitter pill to swallow. Small businesses have for many years been the backbone of the UK, business rates, corporation tax and we now have to have a pension scheme in place for all employees.

We are happy to pay our taxes, but strongly object to big corporations getting away with paying less than their share.

Our AC run the business for us on a day to day basis, they will need to be there all the time. The profit margin is/will be unable to support extra staff and higher wages.

Anniebach Tue 11-Sep-18 11:34:57

My brother has a building firm, the men work a 5 day week and they are above the living wage. Several have been with the firm 30 years . My brother often works a seven day week.

If the men worked a four day week this would delay completion of works, there will be no bricklayers , carpenters etc wanting to work one day a week so the firm would halt after four days . People would not be happy if they had to wait three days for the men to return to work.

Ilovecheese Tue 11-Sep-18 11:35:41

Regarding manufacturing businesses, with the increase in robotics and AI, productivity could well remain the same over a four day week. If this was the case, then the business could benefit by saving the everyday running costs of heating, lighting and power, for three days a week.

An innovative business could even rent out its premises and equipment to another company for three days a week.

One does not always have to think first of the the negatives attached to giving people bit more time for their family lives and outside interests.

(grannygravy I am not referring here to your business, thinking more of manufacturers)

OldMeg Tue 11-Sep-18 11:43:32

I had a colleague who negotiated a 4-day week with her employer. She still worked the 37 hours required by her contract but spread it over four days. She either came in early or worked later. Either way she avoided ‘rush hour’ traffic.

It suited her well

GrannyGravy13 Tue 11-Sep-18 11:45:10

Ilovecheese with manufacturing on a large scale (some production lines are active 24/7), I can see the advantages. In the long term it could provide more jobs.

I am all for family time, but if they manage to get this on the statute books, the treacle down effect could be disastrous for small business.

Ilovecheese Tue 11-Sep-18 11:46:22

Also, thinking about people's wages increasing, while that may hurt to company that is paying the wages, it will be good for another company, when the wages are spent on their product or service.
Lots of small businesses and self employed people rely on other people having that bit more spare cash to spend, not a great deal more, just enough to go towards paying someone else's wages when they go to the hairdressers or buy a takeaway, for example. The extra money is circulated around the economy.

Ilovecheese Tue 11-Sep-18 11:48:28

Grannygravy13, yes, you are right, it was large scale manufacturing that I was thinking about.

Anniebach Tue 11-Sep-18 11:48:37

Builders can’t work on in the winter months, difficult putting a roof on in the dark

Ilovecheese Tue 11-Sep-18 11:49:18

Oldmeg One of my daughters does that too.

GrannyGravy13 Tue 11-Sep-18 12:00:36

Anniebach, totally agree, we supply the small builders and local contractors. If they cannot work, they do not buy supplies.

We still have wages to pay, overhead costs (higher in the winter with heating and more lights on etc). Small merchants like us would be caught in the middle of the big boy suppliers ( have to buy even when business is quiet to get trade discounts and try and avoid increases in steel whenever possible) and our loyal customers.

This idea has not been thought through to the end of the supply and demand chain.

Anniebach Tue 11-Sep-18 12:14:41

Exactly GrannyGravy, it will have a knock on effect , the companies we buy supplies from would be in the same position as you .Small companies who deliver will be affected too.

GrannyGravy13 Tue 11-Sep-18 12:23:41

We deliver to sites to our account customers, we have had to absorb, higher fuel costs, insurance has increased, and if we go into London have to pay the congestion charge. None of these have been passed on to customers because if we put our prices up there are several big national tool/fixing companies who sell items at less than cost.

Anniebach Tue 11-Sep-18 12:30:48

I so understand GrannyGravy , if my brother has even more pressure he will retire, that’s men out of work

Eglantine21 Tue 11-Sep-18 12:32:29

It works when you are dealing with “stuff” perhaps. Paperwork or making things. It won’t work when employees are dealing with people will it?

Say a shop assistant. If your worker is only in for four days at the same pay as when they worked five days, you will have to find the extra money to employ someone for the fifth day.

Any service industry really that’s needs people. Enough to put small concerns ( those individual shops that I love) out of business.

Diana54 Tue 11-Sep-18 13:17:27

Increased automation has been progressing for at least 200 yrs but we are just as busy as we always were. It has made labour easier at the expense of more stress, we now have all sorts of machines in the home to make it easier, so we go out to work, then we can spend more on the things we want.
A 4 day week would only give us more time to spend the cash we earn, those of us that work part time at present do so because it gives us a better work life balance, and we can afford to do that.

Grandad1943 Tue 11-Sep-18 13:20:00

I do not believe that the TUC are calling for this to be compulsory legislation at this point, but that it should be "a discussion item between employers and their employees. In the Road Transport Industry, four-day working has been in existence for a Considerable number of years.

In the above, employees work continuous weeks of four ten hour days followed by three days off making a rolling forty hours over seven days with weekend working inclusive. The forgoing suits both employees and employers even in small companies and means highly expensive vehicles and warehouse equipment can have double shifts over the seven days and also double, or treble shifts carried out within that maximising vehicle and other equipment use.

Of course, all industries are different and require individual analysis of their requirements. In my own company (industrial safety) we have several working methods and patterns which includes flexible working from home, flexible hours of start and finish, job share and rolling week working with two employees. Working from home does not suit every employee even where it is possible and rolling week working would also be similar.

Those who have to travel as a large part of their employment within our company are very much tied to Monday to Friday (on occasion Saturday) working with hours being "Whatever it takes" which is reflected in their salaries and bonuses.

Therefore virtually all industries and employment situations are different depending on the employee's position and the tasks to be carried out. The key in that we find is continuous week by week business need analysis involving employee discussion in those manning requirements.

Large-scale four-day working could hold many benefits for Britain and its workforce. In that, the "knee-jerk" reaction against the proposals we have seen on this thread (even among those who claim they hold Labour/socialist beliefs) are entirely unfounded. Reducing workers hours will be a process of planning and negotiation if all the benefits of artificial intelligence are not to be gained by a few in large multinationals.

Now coffee break over I had better get my head down again or I will be working Saturday.

Ilovecheese Tue 11-Sep-18 13:21:56

We live in a very mixed economy now, so many of our businesses are leisure industries, I like small shop too, but business is not sentimental, one shops missing worker for the day is another business's extra customer for the day.

Family time, for instance, could mean more business for a soft play centre, a theme park, a riding stables, a fair etc.

Even staying at home might mean buying another computer game that could well have been designed in this country.

For adults, another free day might mean more business for a restaurant, a pub, a visitor attraction.

We have to adapt as society changes, we have no choice.

Anniebach Tue 11-Sep-18 13:22:08

The men in our firm work to pay the morgage, feed their families.

Ilovecheese Tue 11-Sep-18 13:23:15

Well, everybody does that.

Anniebach Tue 11-Sep-18 13:24:19

A bricklayer out of work will not afford to visit riding stables or a theme park.

GrannyGravy13 Tue 11-Sep-18 13:26:17

Haven't seen any "knee jerk reactions " on this thread Grandad, only general discussion of the implementation of a possible 4 day week and all it entails.