93% of workers in manufacturing industries want a shorter working week

A new report by the Institute of Employment Rights (IER) shows workers want a shorter working week with no loss of pay

12 Oct 2022| News

A new report by the Institute of Employment Rights (IER) has shown that an overwhelming 93% of manufacturing, engineering, automotive and shipbuilding workers want a shorter working week with no loss of pay.

The report includes a new survey of 2,390 workers at major firms Rolls Royce, BAE Systems, Jaguar Land Rover and Bentley carried out by the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions (CSEU). The results of the survey show that:

  • 93% of workers support reduced working time without loss of pay
  • 97% said the most important benefit would be a better work-life balance
  • 92% rated improved mental health as an important factor
  • 90% rated improved physical health as an important factor
  • 92% were working contracted hours greater than on average for the UK workforce overall

The report found that workers in these industries are putting in longer hours than their counterparts in any country in Europe. It also found that they are suffering from very high rates of work-related stress, depression or anxiety, and musculoskeletal disorders.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 882,000 workers were suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2020/21 and 470,000 workers were afflicted by a musculoskeletal disorder, conditions that have relevance for workers in the manufacturing and engineering industries.

The world’s biggest ever four-day working week pilot is currently underway in the UK with over 70 companies and 3,300 workers taking part. A survey taken at the halfway point of the six month pilot showed that 86% of the companies taking part are likely to consider retaining the policy after the trial period.

Ian Waddell, General Secretary of the CSEU, said:

“The Covid pandemic has caused a huge shift in the attitudes of workers to the time they spend at work and the balance with the rest of their lives outside work.

“This report should give the Trade Union movement the confidence to launch full-throated campaigns for a step change in working time with no reduction in pay.

“It is over thirty years since the last substantial reduction in working time. Productivity has increased exponentially since then but the rewards have not been shared equally with workers. A reduction in working time with no loss of pay is long overdue.”

Joe Ryle, Director of the 4 Day Week Campaign, said:

“British workers across the economy are desperate for a shorter working week.

“The nine to five, five-day working week is outdated and no longer fit for purpose.

“All the evidence shows that a shorter working week with no loss of pay can be a win-win for both workers and employers.”


Notes to editors

  • For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact Joe Ryle – 07907574189
  • A full copy of the report is attached

Download the full report here