The debate over the four-day workweek is far from over. In fact, since this idea was rescued about two years ago by associations such as ‘4 Days Global Week’ or the pilot project that the Valencian Community has devised to test its viability, the discussion has only intensified with different variables of the original proposal, such as the intermediate model proposed by Telefónica or the Belgian proposal.
This weekend, this disparity of approaches has been made clear at the first world summit on the four-day working week, held in the Valencian Community. Trade unions, representatives of the Valencian Government and of Más País have defended the original formula of reducing the weekly workday to 32 hours without reducing salary; Yolanda Díaz, Minister of Labor, has advocated exploring other flexibility formulas; and the employer’s association, which has not participated in the event, has finally ruled on the matter and has assured that the five days are still necessary.
The Government of Spain does not see it. Despite the fact that the Government of Spain accepted a proposal from Más País to test a pilot project similar to the Valencian one at a national level, which will soon see the light of day, this weekend it has become clear that the Spanish Executive does not see clearly the formula for reducing the working week to 32 hours. The Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, assured at the meeting that the four-day workweek approach is rigid, and that she considers it better to talk about flexibility in working time.
The minister pointed out that there are many other manifestations that should be explored, such as permits for people with dependents or parentheses to train or travel with the guarantee of a job, as reported by the EFE Agency. Díaz has also said that it is necessary to talk about the “sovereignty of one’s own time”, but that he is more committed to a Nordic-style model, where there are bags of hours that workers can use as they please.
A position similar to that shared by his government partner, the Minister of Economic Affairs Nadia Calviño, who insured on Sunday that it is necessary to avoid generalizations in the field of productivity and working conditions, which is why it defends attending to the specific circumstances of each company or sector in relation to the reduction of the working day.
The employer speaks out. The Valencia summit has served, in addition to fueling the debate among those who had already spoken about it, to get the Spanish Confederation of Business Organizations (CEOE) to finally get wet on the matter, after almost a year slipping the buck. Xataka has repeatedly consulted the employers about his position regarding the four-day workweek and has always found the same answer: they have not wanted to speak out because they considered that the debate was not on the table.
In any case, their position, now that they have spoken. It was what could be expected: they consider that at this time in Spain five days of work a week are still necessary, and they assure that those who defend a reduction in the 40-hour day are entering into debates to win the elections, According to the Expansión newspaper.
32 hour defense. The unions, the Government of Valencia and Más País, for their part, have continued to defend the reduction of the working week to 32 hours as a formula to combat job insecurity, generate more employment and redistribute the benefits of increased productivity among workers associated with technology.
Unai Sordo, general secretary of the Workers’ Commissions, has indicated that they are not proposing this measure exhaustively for all sectors or in homogeneous terms for the entire Spanish economy, but considers that denying their debate is “retrograde”. Pepe Álvarez, general secretary of the General Union of Workers (UGT), for his part, has said that not analyzing this labor formula is “denying progress”, and has warned that the 32-hour day will be implemented faster than is thought.
Image | David Thorn