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More than a million workers agree to a working day of less than 37.5 hours

Date: April 17, 2024 Time: 09:20:12

Everything indicates that the working day will be one of the key issues of this legislature in the labor framework, once the investiture process ends and the new Government is formed. For the unions it is a priority issue, as they made clear at the beginning of the week, while for the acting Minister of Labor and Social Economy, Yolanda Díaz, it is also an issue of utmost importance, as highlighted in Sumar’s program. Both actors point to the need to reform the Workers’ Statute or even develop a new one, while employers are more reticent and from the ‘think tank’ associated with CEOE, Fedea, they point to collective bargaining as a way to reduce the working day.

The statistics collected by the National Advisory Commission on Collective Agreements show that this is already happening. In the first seven months of 2023, up to 896 agreements have been signed in which a working day of less than 37.5 hours per week has been agreed – or in other words, 1,712 hours per year – covering 1,103,822 workers. Precisely this is the reduction in working hours that Díaz had promised to extend to all of the country’s employees in 2024 under the premise of “vote us, if you want to leave an hour before work” and the fact that it is included in certain agreements . It represents progress, although it barely represents 31% of the new agreements signed.

The general secretary of UGT, Pepe Álvarez, expressed a few days ago the importance of moving towards a 35-hour day throughout this legislature, although he admitted that it is most likely that there will be progressive progress until that figure is reached. However, he emphasized the need to do it by Law, modifying the Statute so that the changes could reach the different sectors and not only office jobs. The data collected by the Labor agency does not relate the agreed annual hours with the sector of activity, but it does differentiate between company agreements and those of a higher scope. 85% of the texts in which a working day of less than 37.5 hours per week was agreed were limited only to the company.

The 40-hour week has become almost an anomaly among the agreements signed since the beginning of 2023, only 13% of the agreements include work times greater than 39.5 hours, which reflects that this reduction is occurring. , despite the fact that it does so in a more progressive way than the pace that the majority unions and some political forces located to the left of the parliamentary arc would like to set. More than four million workers will work between 38.5 and 39.5 hours a week, while another 2.6 million will work between 37.5 and 38.5. This change reduces the average working day agreed in the new agreements to 1,753.75 hours per year, which is below 38 hours per week.

However, for social agents it is a priority that this cut in hours of activity does not translate into a reduction in the salary received by workers and according to the same data, workers affected by agreements with shorter working hours would be seeing compromised or part of their purchasing power, since the shorter the working day, the higher the salary increases in percentage terms. While agreements with less than 37.5 hours per week recognized an increase of 2.97%, those that include a working day of between 39.5 and 40 hours per week recorded an increase of 4.61%. In this case, company agreements and those at a higher level also present differences in salary increases, although the pause remains that the former have increased by around 3% and the latter by 4.5%.

Political support in the air

The PSOE has not been clear in its position on whether or not it is necessary to reduce the maximum working day set at 40 hours. In one of the conversations held between the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, and the Minister of Social Security, José Luis Escrivá, now in office, they pointed out the negotiations between representatives of the workers and the company as the space to address this issue ” out of respect for the 2021 labor reform”, however, as this media published, they later included among their electoral proposals a “package of legal reforms and incentives for companies that will offer their workers greater conciliation.” Therefore, they do not seem to rule out the legal route, but they do not make specific reference to the Workers’ Statute.

It is likely that this issue will be the subject of the negotiations to reissue the coalition Government, as suggested by Sumar’s spokesperson, Ernest Urtasun, who placed this matter alongside the price of the shopping basket and housing as priority issues in the field. economic. Furthermore, the reduction of the working day and the introduction of elements of flexible hours are part of a broader project that both the acting Minister of Labor and the Secretary of State for Employment, Joaquín Pérez Rey, have drawn up in the last year: the Labor Statute of the 21st century, which aspires to include issues such as digital disconnection or the ecological transition in the framework of work.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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