Engineering unions are planning to use a £15m war chest to campaign for a 35-hour week for the manufacturing sector.
Roger Lyons, president-elect of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions, has called for UK working hours to be reduced to the same level as the rest of Europe. The CSEU ran a successful campaign in the late 1980s to cut the average working week from 39 to 37 hours. The £15m fund is left over from that.
Speaking at the confederation’s biennial conference, Lyons said productivity would improve if hours were reduced.
`People in British manufacturing work longer hours than their counterparts in Europe. In Germany, France and Italy they all enjoy a 35-hour week,’ said Lyons. `Our aim is to persuade employers that competitiveness does not depend on our members working longer hours than any other workers in Europe. In fact, all available research shows that cutting working hours increases overall productivity.’