Four-day working week for Glasgow council workers to be investigated

The roll-out of a four-day week on full pay for council workers will be investigated in Glasgow.

Sign up to our GlasgowWorld Today newsletter

Councillors have backed a study into how the policy could be introduced in the city, which will assess the impact of cutting the number of days worked by staff.

It is being considered after Cllr Dan Hutchison, Greens, secured cross-party support for a motion which claimed the council should be “at the forefront of the improvement of workers’ terms and conditions”.

Sign up to our GlasgowWorld Today newsletter

An SNP amendment ensured the financial cost to the council of bringing in a four-day week will be calculated during the study.

Cllr Hutchison said: “It has been 90 years since the move to establish the two day weekend which is widely regarded as one of the greatest wins of the organised movement.

Glasgow City Chambers - home of Glasgow City Council.

“The pandemic was hard, it was really hard for a lot of people, but one of the positive aspects for some was the flexibility of time many people encountered.

“From working from home and being entitled to furlough, many people in Glasgow found it easier to juggle caring responsibilities, they had more time to relax, exercise and run their errands with much less pressure.

“A lot of people realise the high hours that they work isn’t healthy, but crucially it isn’t necessary.”

Thousands of UK workers are currently taking part in the world’s biggest four-day week trial, which is based on the 100:80:100 model — 100 % of pay for 80% of the time, with a commitment to maintain 100% productivity.

Cllr Hutchison’s motion said the Glasgow study should consider reducing the workforce hours by 20% while maintaining current pay.

He acknowledged there would be challenges but said the study could show “how we can move past these and make such a massive change for our workers”.

Cllr Holly Bruce, Greens, added: “In our current economic system, workers are ruled by the construct of capitalism and its endless economic growth model. A wellbeing economy moves beyond this economic growth as a marker of progress.”

She said a four-day week would be the “first step” towards this model.

The SNP’s Cllr Allan Casey said adopting new working practices across all areas of the council is “extremely difficult”.

“The council operates in an environment that is largely client facing and in these environments it could be fair to assume that a 20% reduction in hours worked by our staff could mean a 20% cut in level of service,” he added. For example, a 20% cut in home care hours would need to be matched with a 20% increase in staff, he said.

Cllr Casey said the financial consequences need to be fully considered, but added: “I am in favour of a four-day working week and I believe we must examine all options seriously.”