SNP members demand a FOUR-DAY WEEK if Scotland votes to leave the United Kingdom, saying working fewer hours will make people ‘happier, healthier and more productive’

  • A motion passed by a massive majority at the Scottish National Party conference 
  • Said employment law be ‘adapted to meet the needs of the future economy’ 
  • Came as Boris Johnson rejected down referendum call from Nicola Sturgeon

Scottish separatists demanded today that the nation introduce a four-day working week if it secedes from the United Kingdom.

A motion passed by a massive majority at the Scottish National Party conference said that employment rules should be ‘adapted to meet the needs of the future economy’ by any independent government.

The demand, which has echoes of Labour’s 32-hour working week plan ahead of last year’s election, came as Boris Johnson slapped down calls from Nicola Sturgeon to hold a Scottish independence referendum as early as next year.

The First Minister insisted ‘the sooner the better’ on the timing of a new vote on splitting up the UK, saying Scotland needed the powers to ‘rebuild’ after coronavirus in the way its people wanted.

SNP members today  called on the Holyrood Government to instigate a review that could bring about a four-day working week in the event of independence. The motion passed by 1,136 votes to 70. 

Party member Lee Robb made the case for a reduced working week while speaking in favour of the motion on Monday.

He said: ‘The coronavirus pandemic has upended the way we live our lives but so too has it given us the opportunity to reset and rethink how we work.’ 

Employees who work a four-day week are ‘happier, healthier, more productive, less likely to take time off sick and less likely to be burned out by the end of the week’, he added.     

Party member Lee Robb made the case for a reduced working week while speaking in favour of the motion on Monday. He said: ‘The coronavirus pandemic has upended the way we live our lives but so too has it given us the opportunity to reset and rethink how we work’

The demand, which has echoes of Labour’s 32-hour working week plan ahead of last year’s election, came as Boris Johnson slapped down calls from Nicola Sturgeon to hold a Scottish independence referendum as early as next year

The passed resolution states: ‘Conference calls on the Scottish Government to undertake a review into how working practices should be adapted to meet the needs of the future economy, including the possibility of a four-day working week and more support for people to work from home or closer to home, with a view to reform when Scotland gains full control of employment rights.’

In Denmark, Mr Robb claimed productivity did not drop when the reduced week was trialled.

He said: ‘Danish workers work around four hours per week less than we do in the UK yet their productivity is still around 23 per cent higher than ours.

‘Now, that tells us a few things, but it certainly tells us that many UK businesses are asking their employees to throw dead time at their jobs – where they’re not adding to the productivity of the company – and it’s to the detriment of mental health, to the detriment of a work life balance that’s healthy.’

A report released by the Autonomy think tank earlier this year found around 500,000 jobs in the UK would be created as a result of a shift to the shorter working week in the public sector.

With workers remaining on full pay despite reducing their hours, the initiative would cost £9 billion, Autonomy said, equivalent to 6% of the total wage bill.

Earlier Ms Sturgeon trolled Mr Johnson over his unpopularity north of the border, swiping that he is ‘inadvertently an advocate’ for the separatist case.

And she refused to rule out going to the Supreme Court if Mr Johnson tries to block a referendum, saying it had never ‘tested’ whether she needed permission from Westminster.

But the PM’s spokesman said he had been clear about his position on holding a referendum. ‘The people of Scotland had a vote on this and they voted very clearly to remain part of the UK,’ Mr Johnson’s official spokesman said.

The clashes came ahead of Ms Sturgeon’s keynote speech to the SNP conference, being held virtually this year amid the pandemic.

Ms Sturgeon has been escalating her demands for a referendum, despite Mr Johnson insisting he will not give permission after the ‘once in a generation’ contest in 2014.

She has already said she has never been so certain that Scotland will become independent.

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