UK and continental unions have launched a £15m campaign to reduce the British manufacturing working week to 35 hours.
Roger Lyons, president of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions (CSEU), met senior European trade union leaders last week to launch the campaign. A 35-hour week would bring UK working hours in to line with the continent.
`Our aim is to persuade employers that competitiveness does not depend on our members working longer hours than any other workers in Europe,’ said Lyons, who is also general secretary of manufacturing union MSF. `In fact, all available research shows that reducing working hours increases overall productivity.’
The CSEU ran a successful drive in the late 1980s to reduce the working week from 39 to 37 hours. Its £15m war chest for the new crusade is left over from that campaign.
`We believe this money should help us persuade employers to see our point of view,’ said Lyons.