Civil servants demand the right to work a four-day week with no loss of pay as Defra looks to become the first department to try the controversial scheme
- Staff want to see if reducing working hours improves wellbeing & productivity
- READ MORE: Four-day week really DOES work, major six-month trial reveals
Workers at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs want to become the first in Whitehall to try the controversial change in working practices.
Ministers last month ordered councils to stop four-day working week trials and ban any new such ‘experiments’.
The TaxPayers’ Alliance also warned that an introduction of a four-day working week across the public sector would cost £30billion per year in lost working time.
But Defra staff want a pilot scheme covering 21,000 employees to see if reducing their working hours by 20 per cent improves their wellbeing and productivity.
Defra civil servants in the Public and Commercial Services trade union delivered a petition to their bosses on Thursday.
PCS Union general secretary Mark Serwotka (pictured) said that a four-day week could ‘improve productivity’
Defra staff want a pilot scheme covering 21,000 employees to see if reducing their working hours by 20 per cent improves their wellbeing and productivity (Stock Image)
They called on them to agree a trial, saying the four-day week is becoming increasingly popular in workplaces across Britain.
General secretary Mark Serwotka said: ‘Evidence suggests a four-day week would lead to a better work-life balance for staff and could improve productivity for the employer.
‘Previous trials have led to a reduction in sick leave and improvements to staff retention and satisfaction.
READ MORE: Tech firm is forced to axe four-day week trial because it made staff MORE stressed and was the ‘opposite’ of ‘what they were trying to accomplish’
‘If Defra wants to seriously address the issues of employee burnout, stress and poor well-being, they will listen to our members and implement this pilot.’
Joe Ryle, director of the 4 Day Week Campaign group, added: ‘A four-day working week with no loss of pay improves both productivity and the well-being of workers.
‘It’s been tested time and time again with great success in the private sector so it’s only right and fair to see if these benefits can apply to public sector workers.’
However, the demand is set to be rejected by the Environment Secretary.
A source close to Steve Barclay said: ‘This is a totally unrealistic fringe demand being pushed by hard-left union leaders that is entirely at odds with the hard work and dedication to delivering for the public that our civil servants show every day.’
It comes as ministers continue to put pressure on the first town hall to introduce a four-day week to end its trial.
South Cambridgeshire District Council has been forced to agree to answer up to 80 questions totalling 186 requests from the Department for Levelling Up every week to prove it is providing value for money.
Yesterday, the TPA protested against Norwich City Council’s plan to become the second town hall to introduce a four-day week.
Conor Holohan, media campaign manager at the pressure group, said: ‘Taxpayers are sick to the back teeth of seeing jumped-up bureaucrats placing their own interests above those of the country.
‘Civil servants receive pay, perks and a pension that many workers can only dream of, yet some are now demanding a part-time job with full-time pay.
‘Steve Barclay should treat this request with the contempt it deserves.’
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