Could this be the answer to Generation Burnout?
Lead campaign organiser for trade union Fórsa Joe O’Connor has called for an Irish campaign on a four-day working week.
Ireland needs to have a national conversation about the future of work, O’Connor has said, and Fórsa plans to lead a debate on the matter.
He believes that four-day weeks make sense in the face of growing automation and give people time to enjoy with family, their community and society.
Speaking on RTÉ One Radio with Seán O'Rourke, O'Connor said that he is aiming for "a steady managed transition towards shorter working hours.
"Having a four day week has maintained productivity and helped with retention of staff."
Back in September 2018, Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the British Trades Union Congress (TUC), called for a four-day week as a 21st-century trade union ambition.
Two months later, Fórsa began exploring emerging trade union demands for a move towards a four-day week.
Now, their aim is to open up the debate here in Ireland.
Workers have historically benefited from improvements in technology through reduced working time. When the TUC was founded in 1868, the average working hours were 62 per week. Now (including those who work part-time), average weekly hours have almost halved, to around 32.
It’s already happening in a number of large European economies including France and Germany, where the IG Metall union recently negotiated a deal that included the option for 500,000 workers in 280 companies to reduce their working time.