• Tue. Aug 16th, 2022

Right here’s why a four-day working week trial in Spain has not been a runaway success

Right here’s why a four-day working week trial in Spain has not been a runaway success 1

Trials of four-day working weeks have been hailed as successes, with staff given the chance largely leaping on the probability to have an additional day to themselves.

Nonetheless, that isn’t the case on the Spanish telecoms agency Telefónica, the place massive numbers of staff are rejecting the supply.

Susana Lopez (whose identify has been modified for this text) informed Euronews Subsequent she determined to not be part of the four-day working week proposed by the multinational firm as a result of it was frowned upon in her division.

“Amongst my colleagues, it was seen as contradictory to wish to develop throughout the firm and to make the most of this versatile working day,” she mentioned.

With out that stress, she would have accepted it, although. “If I had been 40 years previous and knew that I now not had the potential of profession development, I’d have taken it 100 per cent,” she mentioned.

On Friday, with simply hours to go earlier than the deadline to hitch the pioneering four-day workweek proposed by the corporate, only one per cent of staff had opted for it.

Out of a complete workforce of 18,000 staff in Spain, the corporate restricted the quota for becoming a member of to simply 10 per cent, a most of 1,800. Of this quantity, for the second, solely 200 have requested to make the versatile week their working actuality.

4-day week, four-day pay

One of many key causes for the low uptake of the supply is that, not like different four-day week trials, this one requires a sacrifice in your wage.

By transferring to a 32-hour week – eight hours a day from Monday to Thursday – the employees can be eradicating 5 and a half hours from their present working week, which comes with a proportional discount in pay.

The corporate is providing a 20 per cent bonus to compensate for this, but it surely nonetheless means a wage adjustment of roughly 12 per cent lower than earlier than, in keeping with Jaume Álvarez, head of the Comisiones Obreras union in Barcelona.

For Comisiones Obreras, and one other union, the UGT, this compensation nonetheless doesn’t make the four-day week supply very engaging.

“We’re asking for no less than 30 per cent,” mentioned Diego Gallart, spokesman for the UGT union on the firm.

“Even so, I do not assume it is purely a wage problem. Generally, the sensation of Telefónica’s employees just isn’t considered one of financial hardship. Their wage ranges are excessive. It’s attainable that for some, the wage issue does come into play, however not for others,” he added.

Gallart mentioned the non permanent nature of the measure might also be affecting take-up. The proposal is an extension of a pilot take a look at that started final October and that noticed some 150 staff join.

This 12 months it would run from September 1 to December 31. After these months, the corporate will determine whether or not to maintain the scheme.

“This isn’t the easiest way to announce the measure as a result of administration has not assured that will probably be maintained in January. For those who do not assure it, folks do not change their lives only for three months,” mentioned Gallart.

‘What about my pension?’

Along with this, older staff are involved about their social safety contributions.

Throughout the firm, there are different plans which might be extra engaging to those staff, akin to an ”incentivised leaving plan” that’s proposed once in a while.

To affix this plan, whereby staff can take early retirement at age 65 whereas sustaining 68 per cent of their wage, staff have to have 38.5 years of contributory service.

“In the event that they be part of the four-day working day, it would take them longer to get these years of contributions as a result of they’re working fewer hours,” Gallart mentioned.

‘The panacea that everybody needs is unrealistic’

Javier Graña, a Telefónica employee in A Coruña in northern Spain, determined to attempt the four-day working week and signed up for the scheme as quickly because it was launched by the corporate.

“I felt the necessity to have extra time obtainable for the necessary issues in life,” he mentioned.

He was additionally satisfied by the truth that it’s a voluntary scheme, and staff can nonetheless choose out at a later date. Two of the three folks in his staff have determined to attempt it out.

Even so, Graña admits that, though he ended up accepting the four-day week, the discount in wage was a significant factor in contemplating whether or not or to not be part of the scheme.

“As a employee, the very first thing is to have the complete data and see if you happen to can afford it. I do not assume the compensation is far, on condition that the work I do not do on Friday shall be ready for me on Monday”.

Nonetheless, Graña assumes that the present supply is simply step one and that circumstances shall be improved sooner or later.

On this level, the unions disagree: “I do not consider {that a} four-day working day with no discount in pay will ever be applied. We perceive that the panacea that everybody needs is unrealistic”, mentioned the UGT spokesman.

“If there have been no pay cuts, we’d be speaking about different figures, there can be slaps within the face for becoming a member of the programme. Clearly firms should not prepared to take this on and, understanding the Spanish enterprise neighborhood, it is vitally tough for this to occur,” he added.

“I see it as very sophisticated for an employer to voluntarily lose 1000’s of productive hours with out lowering the wage invoice”.

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