The leader of Britain’s trade union movement has called for the power of technology to be used to give workers a four-day working week.
Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trade Union Congress, will use her speech to the organisation’s 150th annual gathering today to insist that the change is possible in the 21st century.
Comparing the campaign to previous fights for limits on working hours and the right to a weekend and annual leave, Ms O’Grady will say it is “time to share the wealth from new technology.”
She will argue that wealth generated by new technology should be used to reduce workers’ hours and pay them more, naming Amazon as an example of a company where profits are being unfairly distributed.
Speaking in Manchester, Ms O’Grady is expected to say: “In the 19th century, unions campaigned for an eight-hour day. In the twentieth century, we won the right to a two-day weekend and paid holidays.
“So, for the 21st century, let’s lift our ambition again. I believe that in this century we can win a four-day working week, with decent pay for everyone.
“It’s time to share the wealth from new technology. Not allow those at the top to grab it for themselves.”
It comes as new TUC research found a majority of workers believe shareholders and managers will hoard the benefits of new technology.
Meanwhile more than four in five employees want to reduce their working hours without having their pay cut.
Ms O’Grady will single out Amazon for criticism following a series of reports about the conditions of its warehouse workers.
She will say: “Jeff Bezos owns Amazon – now a trillion dollar company. He’s racking up the billions while his workers are collapsing on the job exhausted. Read more
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