Alda has recently started a program with the aim of shortening working hours in Iceland. The short-term aim is to bring the average number of working hours per week down to 30-32 hours, in a period of two years. The long-term aim is to make sure that increases in productivity directly contribute to shorter working hours, the first effects are supposed to be seen around 2015. Along with this, purchasing power is not to be reduced.
The main reason for this program is the fact that among the Nordic countries, Working people in Iceland work the longest hours. Working hours are also long in comparison to many other European countries. In the year 2008, for example, a worker in Iceland worked around 5,5 hours more each week than a worker in Denmark. In a whole year, that amounts to 33 eight-hour working days. The difference is even more when compared with Norway.
Members of Alda believe that this must change; the number of hours should go down. As a part of this program, a 21 page booklet was compiled and sent to most labour unions in Iceland, employee unions and several state ministries – in all, around 130 copies were sent. This booklet demonstrates reasons for shortening the working hours in Iceland.
The reasons that the number of working hours must be reduced are: Many people report being tired after work; the organization of work is probably not optimal, resulting in overwork, and ultimately, longer working hours; it might increase employment. And also, it will give people more chances to enjoy life – the purpose of all economic life.
The booklet will be followed by meetings with labour unions and employee unions.
The booklet can be downloaded from here.