LABOUR plans to lure voters away from Boris Johnson by promising a four-day week – despite its own report saying it would lead to fewer jobs and lower wages.
Hard-left Labour boss John McDonnell said the party could back the policy at the next election, saying “watch this space”.
NOT WORKING 9 TO 5
But in a humiliating blow to the shadow chancellor, a report he commissioned found that a French law imposing a 35-hour week massively backfired.
While Tory critics slammed the plan, warning it will hurt low paid workers and small businesses the most.
Lord Skidelsky’s report, commissioned by Labour, found that bosses responded to the French law by freezing wages and recruiting less.
And it plunged hospitals in to crisis, causing staff shortage and intensifying work to an “unpleasant degree”.
But the report called for the government to set a target to achieve a 35 hour working week in the public sector over the next target.
And it also called for every Brit to be guaranteed a job or training.
Mr McDonnell hailed the report as “terrific” and said he is determined to see working hours cut.
He said: “It’s about how do the workers benefit from automation and not lose out – and part of that will be hopefully a reduced working week so people can have more family time and leisure time.”
This is highly embarrassing for John McDonnell. His own commissioned report makes clear his proposals could lead to wage freezes, problems at hospitals and hurt low-paid workers and small businesses.
Asked directly if the party will adopt a four-day working week policy at the next election, he said: “Watch this space.”
Mr McDonnell said Labour will not simply copy France. Instead they will try to slash the working week by handing trade unions massive powers to squeeze the concession out of bosses.
Tory Party deputy chairman Paul Scully said: “This is highly embarrassing for John McDonnell.
“His own commissioned report makes clear his proposals could lead to wage freezes, problems at hospitals and hurt low-paid workers and small businesses.
“Despite these warnings, he intends to press ahead, showing Labour will always put their hard-left ideology over what actually helps people.
“Labour always leave working people worse off.”
Professor Len Shackleton, from the free market think-tank the IEA, said: If you restrict people to a four day week, many will just do another job on top of their main employment.
“Compulsory 35-hour week in France has proved unpopular and the government there has had to allow some variation.”
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