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Four working days a week; Pilot project may implement in Ireland as well

DUBLIN: The four-day-a-week work plan is likely to be implemented in Ireland as well. Fórsa, the country’s largest trade union organisation, has given the green signal to the introduction of the initiative in the public-private sector as a whole. With this, things are moving towards the level where the government has agreed to the principle of four working days per week.

Forsa has agreed to implement its pilot project in the public-private-community sector. Fórsa is a part of 4DWI (Four Day Week Ireland), a coalition of businesses, unions, academics and activists established last year. Fórsa has 80,000 members.

If the pilot project is successful, it could be implemented nationwide, the organisation said. The pilot concept was approved at Forsa’s virtual delegate conference.

Fórsa’s Joe O’Connor commented that COVID-19 pandemic has brought the working class to the practical view of four working days a week. About 75% of those surveyed by Forsa welcomed the new idea. It also revealed that 46% of employers reported that the trialing a four-day week was practical.

Those who have seen such a concept radically in the past are now beginning to think it is reasonable.

Delegates at the Fórsa biennial conference called for the development and implementation of remote working and other arrangements to improve work-time flexibility. The union also demanded for an increase in the number of public holidays. There are currently only nine public holidays in Ireland. Ireland has the lowest number of vacations in the European Union. The organisation urged the government to seriously consider reducing working hours and changing working styles.

The experiment was also welcomed by the National Women’s Council. The council said the four-day plan would provide an opportunity for men to focus more on household chores. The council also noted that a four-day week will help create greater gender balance in the workplace.

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