Politicians across Europe have called for the UK, Germany and Spain among other countries to adopt a four-day working week to help economic recovery from the pandemic.
In a letter to Boris Johnson, German chancellor Angela Merkel, Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez, as well as other leaders, former shadow chancellor John McDonnell and a group of left wing politicians and union officials from across Europe have called for a four-day week.
The letter also includes Katja Kipping, the chair of Die Linke party in Germany; Íñigo Errejón, an MP in Spain’s Más País party; Green party MP Caroline Lucas; and Len McCluskey, general secretary of the Unite union.
The letter highlights the long history of workers agreeing to shorter hours to save jobs. It also explains the ‘opportunity’ to rethink working patterns, reduce energy consumption and ultimately help tackle the climate crisis.
The group wrote: “Throughout history, shorter working hours have been used during times of crisis and economic recession as a way of sharing work more equally across the economy between the unemployed and the over-employed.
“For the advancement of civilisation and the good society, now is the moment to seize the opportunity and move towards shorter working hours with no loss of pay.”
Over the years, proposals for a four-day week have gained momentum, in part thanks to a growing number of companies who claim increases in productivity and improvements to employees’ mental health.
The idea faces stiff opposition from business groups and right-of-centre politicians, however.
Britain’s biggest business lobby group, The Confederation of British Industry, argued that formalising a four-day week would be a step in the wrong direction back in 2019.
Contrastingly, those for a four-day week often highlight that the average number of hours worked by people across the economy has not significantly reduced since the 80s, despite labour-saving technologies that should, in theory, free up more time for leisure.
Joe Ryle, a campaigner for the 4 Day Week UK Campaign, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown the world of work up in the air, offering a much-needed opportunity to rethink how we work.
“The four-day working week has hit the mainstream and it’s now up to governments, business leaders and trade unions to work together to make it a reality.”
What do you think, are you for or against a four-day working week?
Blackpool is set to get a new £300m ‘indoor theme park’
This looks so good!
The latest development proposals for Blackpool will be the single biggest investment in the seaside town for more than a century.
The range of new attractions will include the UK’s first flying theatre, the world’s first multimedia exhibition of its kind and the most advanced virtual reality experience on an epic scale.
The development is set to span across a 17-acre plot, attracting 600,000 additional visitors a year and contribute a massive £75m a year too.
There will also be 1,000 new jobs for the people of Blackpool created as part of the development.
Based on the novels written by Eric Von Däniken in the 1960s and 1970s, the site will follow the theme of ‘Chariots of the Gods’.
It will include unsolved mysteries of the past such as the Pyramids of Egypt and Mexico as well as ancient cave drawings, the monuments of Easter Island and even alien visitors!
Flying Theatre True flight movement will provide an unparalleled real-flying sensation and is the number one attraction across major cities and theme parks. The world’s most advanced VR experience will also find a new home in Blackpool with state-of-the-art visuals, body tracking and even touch and smell.
The development will also house a new restaurant with a breathtaking ‘rollercoaster service‘, in a one-of-a-kind place of fun, adventure and discovery, all serving healthy and organic food.
Blackpool is currently working with Media Investment Entertainment – who own the intellectual property of Chariots of the Gods – and Nikal Ltd to help unlock the development of this opportunity.
The new development is set to be delivered over an eight to nine-year period and will bring new hotels, restaurants, food market, event square, residential apartments and multi-storey parking.
Boris Johnson confirms England will return to three tier system from December 2nd
Boris Johnson addressed the Commons remotely today, to lay out his ‘Covid Winter Plan’.
The Prime Minister spoke to MPs via videolink as he is still self-isolating.
Mr Johnson confirmed that England would be returning to the regional three tier system which was in place before lockdown began.
However, he announced that the three tiers would each become stricter to try and stop the spread of the virus.
In Tier 1, people should work from home where it is possible, while in Tier 2 alcohol can only be served as part of a substantial meal, and in Tier 3 indoor entertainment, hotels and all hospitality will have to close – except for deliveries and takeaways.
Also in Tiers 1 and 2, the 10pm curfew for pubs and bars will end, with last orders being at 10pm and establishments closing at 11pm, allowing people to leave in a more staggered way.
The Prime Minister confirmed that gyms, hairdressers, salons and all shops could reopen at the end of lockdown, and that outdoor sports can resume.
He also announced that some fans will be allowed back into sports stadiums in Tier 1 and 2 areas.
Mr Johnson said that ‘more regions will temporarily fall into the higher levels’, but that with mass testing it should be possible for these areas to move into lower tiers.
The government is also working with the devolved administrations of the UK to come up with a plan for Christmas, according to the Prime Minister, although he added: “I can’t say that Christmas will be normal this year”.
The government is also planning to ‘end automatic isolation’ for anyone who has come into contact with someone who has coronavirus, with a testing scheme replacing it, which will be piloted in Liverpool.
In the pilot, people who have come into contact with anyone who’s tested positive will be tested every day for a week – they’ll only need to self-isolate if they test positive for coronavirus.
It’s expected the details of what tier the different regions and areas of England will be placed in will be announced on Thursday.
Morrisons gives 10% Christmas discount to frontline workers in 16 jobs
As a ‘thank you’ to thousands of frontline workers, Morrisons will be providing a 10% discount to people from now until Christmas.
Those employed in the emergency services, care workers and Armed Forces personnel who hold a Blue Light Card will qualify for the benefit at Morrisons stores.
Cardholders will be able to claim the 10% discount on their groceries by presenting their Blue Light ID Card at tills at any of Morrisons 498 stores.
Morrisons have launched the discount to show appreciation to the key workers who have gone above and beyond their usual roles throughout the pandemic this year.
People in these roles qualify:
- Ambulance Service
- Border Force
- British Army
- Fire Service
- HM Coastguard
- Prison Service
- Red Cross
- Reserve Armed Force
- Royal Air Force
- Royal Marines
- Royal Navy
- Social care workers
- HM Armed Forces Veterans
- Community First Responders
- Second Line Responders
David Potts, Morrisons’ chief executive said: “Our emergency services, social care sector and armed forces have worked tirelessly this year to provide support to the many people who need it across the UK, often in exceptionally difficult circumstances.