As Labour centrists scheme, John McDonnell explores a shorter working week to improve people’s lives

John McDonnell pictured next to someone relaxing in a hammock
Support us and go ad-free

Labour Party centrists have stolen another weekend by focusing attention on their never-ending threat to split the party. But as they entertain ways to salvage their dying political careers, Labour’s shadow chancellor is embracing radical new ways to help people’s lives.

New Report: A shorter working week

John McDonnell expressed his approval for the latest work by the thinktank Autonomy. It’s released a reportThe Shorter Working Week: A Radical And Pragmatic Proposal:

According to Autonomy, the work is endorsed by Labour MPs Clive Lewis and Dan Carden. It also has support from Green party co-leader Jonathan Bartley, journalist Owen Jones and Communication Workers Union general secretary Dave Ward. Not to mention the recent hero of Davos and author of Utopia for Realists, Rutger Bregman.

Working time to lose but social benefits to gain

Autonomy’s report outlines the benefits of a shorter working week and stresses that it is, “possible now and is not an abstract utopia”.

Even for those obsessed with economic growth and boosting productivity, a shorter working week is helpful. Germany’s workers, for example, work less on average than those of us in the UK and yet are more productive. Because of this, another upside of fewer working hours is that:

there would be no justification for cutting wages in tandem with reduced working hours (as productivity can often be maintained or even increased).

And the benefits of the policy extend far beyond productivity. According to Autonomy co-director Kyle Lewis:

From the effects of overwork on our mental and physical health, to the damage that the work-consume cycle does to our environment, governments have to realise that the key to a sustainable future is not more work, but a collective reduction in work.

As the report stresses, looking ahead to the future, we should harness automated technologies to liberate humanity from work further.

These benefits considered, it’s no surprise McDonnell has shown his approval:

A reminder of what matters

Our exploitative economic system lacks imagination for reform and it romanticises overwork. So the Labour leadership showing support for such radical measures that challenge this is welcome.

As centrists fight for their careers and cause yet more disruption that wastes party member’s energy, McDonnell reminds us that improving people’s quality of life is what matters.

Featured image via YouTube – Sky News and Flickr – anoldent

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us