Recent research has demonstrated that British workers pull some of the longest hours in Europe, yet have fallen behind in terms of economic productivity. Many believe that reducing working hours would increase productivity and be better for both individuals and the country as a whole.
Pawel Adrjan, UK economist at Indeed – which commissioned the study, said that “the idea has shot up the agenda of politicians, academics and even some employers over the last twelve months.”
The number of hours Brits spend working had been in decline since the start of the industrial revolution until the 1980s, but since then – notably a time when workers’ voices were muted by anti-trade union legislation – this has levelled off.
Further, the survey found that most workers are in favour of pay transparency, such as a register of individuals’ salaries modelled on regulations that have already proven successful at encouraging improved economic equality in Scandinavia.
With the average FTSE 100 boss now taking home 147 times that of the average worker, 56% of respondents to the poll said they would like to see something similar rolled out in the UK, as well as information on the taxes that people pay.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said Labour was looking into both pay transparency and a four-day working week.
“It’s clear that excessive pay inequality is one of the drivers of the anger and resentment which many people feel towards the establishment,” he said.
“Labour will tackle the scourge of those earning enormous sums and using schemes of dubious morality to hide them offshore in tax havens.”