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Morrisons is introducing a four-day working week

Good idea?

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John M / Geograph

A four-day working week is set to be introduced for staff at Morrisons, impacting 1,500 workers. 

Throughout the coronavirus lockdown there has been a resurgence in the concept of a four-day working week, and Morrison’s has announced it will introduce the idea to part of its business. 

The concept will mean 1,500 workers at Morrisons’ head office will experience a serious shake-up in practices while keeping salaries the same. 

The scheme will see the staff doing nine-hour shifts instead of eight, with a six-hour Saturday shift once a month 

Simon McKeating/Geograph

The concept will be launched in the Bradford-based offices on July 27th when staff return after the coronavirus lockdown.

Clare Grainger, people director, said: “These new improvements to our ways of working will enable us to be more flexible and responsive and will make Morrisons a place where more people will want to join and stay.”

Speaking to the Yorkshire Post, she added: “We’ve shown over the last few months how we can continue to run our business while many colleagues work from home, enabled by much greater flexibility and digital working. These new ways of working will simplify and speed up our business and improve our competitiveness.”

The new rules will not be applied to shop staff, who tend to work a rota system.

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Campaigners for a four-day working week argue it helps create a better work-life balance, and actually also increases productivity as staff feel motivated and refreshed. 

Similarly, there are arguments the increased time off will boost the economy as more people spend time (and money) on leisure facilities. 

The Labour party, when headed by Jeremy Corbyn, flittered with the idea in their election campaign – however it has gained fresh momentum in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.  

A cross-bench group of MPs, including shadow chancellor John McDonnell and the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas, wrote to chancellor Rishi Sunak suggesting a four-day week could boost certain sectors of the economy, while also providing more job opportunities amid rising unemployment.

Their letter read: “Shorter working time has been used throughout history as a way of responding to economic crises,” 

“They were used as a way of reducing unemployment during the Great Depression of the 1930s, which led to the normalisation of the eight-hour day and the 40-hour week.

“A four-day week would bring multiple benefits to society, the environment, our democracy, and our economy (through increased productivity).

“One of the biggest impacts would be better mental health and wellbeing across the board with more time available for socialising, family and community.”

The letter also explained that thee quarters of workers supported the concept. It concluded with: “It’s in no one’s interests to return back to the pressure and stress that people were under before this pandemic.” 

Would you want a four-day working week if it meant working longer hours? Let us know…

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Boy, 15, arrested after teenage boy stabbed to death outside school

He’s the second person to be arrested

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West Yorkshire Police

A teenage boy has been arrested following the murder of a 15-year-old on Wednesday.

The suspect, also 15, was picked up by police after student Khayri McLean was stabbed to death in Huddersfield.

He has now been arrested in connection with the murder.

He’s the second person to be arrested as police investigate Khayri’s death outside his school.

West Yorkshire Police said: “Police investigating the murder of 15-year-old Khayri McLean in Huddersfield have arrested a second youth in connection with the incident.

“The 15-year-old male was arrested yesterday and is currently in custody. A 16-year-old male who was arrested yesterday also remains in custody.

“Officers from West Yorkshire Police’s homicide and major enquiry team (HMET) are continuing to conduct enquiries into the death of Khayri, who died after being stabbed on Woodhouse Hill, Huddersfield, on Wednesday.”

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Kwasi Kwarteng scraps cap on bankers’ bonuses in first mini-budget as Chancellor

NEWS JUST IN

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Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng gave his first mini-budget in the House of Commons this morning.

He began by discussing the government’s plan to support people with the cost of energy, including freezing domestic bills at £2,500 and giving out the £400 rebate.

There’s also unit price limits for companies.

Kwarteng said he believes the UK needs a ‘new approach for a new era’ to achieve growth of 2.5%, saying the three important parts of his mini-budget are reforming the economy’s supply side, tax cuts and a responsible approach when it comes to public finances.

As part of this, the Chancellor announced a new bill to overhaul planning restrictions, saying this will ‘unpick the complex patchwork of planning restrictions and EU-derived laws’.

He revealed that benefit claimants will see their benefits reduced if they do not fulfil their job searching commitments.

Kwarteng also confirmed that the cap on bankers’ bonuses will be scrapped, following reports that he would make this one of his first moves.

As well as that, the planned corporation tax increase has been cancelled, and will remain at 19%, with the Chancellor also setting out a series of tax cuts for businesses.

This includes tax cuts for businesses in designated tax sites for 10 years, accelerated tax reliefs for buildings, and no business rates to pay for newly occupied business residences.

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Drag Race UK star Cherry Valentine has died aged 28

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@thecherryvalentine / Instagram

Drag star George Ward, known as Cherry Valentine, has sadly passed away aged 28, it’s been confirmed this morning.

Ward’s family announced the news, describing his death as a ‘profound shock’.

He appeared on series two of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, before going on to front the BBC documentary Gypsy Queen And Proud.

According to his family, Ward – who was raised in Darlington, County Durham as part of the Traveller community – died on Sunday.

He qualified as a mental health nurse back in 2015 before he began his career in drag.

Ward’s family said in a statement: “It is with the most heart-wrenching and deepest sadness to inform you that our George – Cherry Valentine – has tragically passed away.

“This will come as a profound shock to most people and we understand there is no easy way for this to be announced.

“As his family, we are still processing his death and our lives will never be the same.

“We understand how much he is loved and how many lives he has inspired and touched. All we ask is for your patience and your prayers in this time. We love you Georgie.”

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