SNP members attending the party’s conference have overwhelmingly voted in favour of a four-day week being introduced in Scotland.

The resolution, titled “fair work and wellbeing and a four-day week”, passed by 509 votes to just 16.

It was one of four resolutions heard by SNP members on the first day of conference. 

Put forward by the Glasgow Provan branch and Emma Harper, the SNP MSP for South Scotland, the motion was moved at conference by Councillor Ruairi Kelly and seconded by Bailie Annette Christie.

READ MORE: Michael Russell: Independence must be Scotland's new normal

Kelly spoke of his experience in retail, saying that the “workforce is conditioned to almost brag about the levels of exploitation they endure”, but he now realised that it was not the workers who benefitted from the hours put in, but the company.

He said there had been a readjustment of the work-life balance during the pandemic, especially as hours spent commuting had been given back to the workers.

The National:

“There really is no going back to business as usual. The paradigm shift that so many have suffered loss and tragedy in has made many of us to reflect on what is most important and whether we need to adjust our priorities,” Kelly (above) told conference.

Christie added: “Economic policy driven solely by the pursuit of growth or discriminatory practices, and businesses focused narrowly on profit, do not serve society, or our planet.”

READ MORE: Resolution to make Tory Universal Credit uplift permanent passes SNP conference

The SNP councillor also focused on women’s rights through Covid and the need a well-being economy and “transformative change”.

She said “rethinking the working week” had shown excellent results in Iceland, where productivity had often risen despite a cut in hours, and called for Scotland to lead the way in changing work practice.

The National:

Siobhan Tolland (above) also spoke in favour of the resolution, saying it was “evident” that a four-day working week could offer much, including a more “robust” economy.

No-one spoke against the resolution, which was resoundingly endorsed by members. Host Kirsten Oswald MP announced that it passed by 509 votes to just 16.

The resolution read: “Conference reaffirms Scotland’s Fair Work vision that we want Scotland to be the best place to live, work, invest and do business, and believe that fair work is the foundation for this.

“Conference further believes that Fair Work is central to achieving the Scottish Government’s priority for sustainable and inclusive growth and must be at the heart of employment practices, funding and procurements.

“Conference notes the work of the Fair Work Convention, strategic partnership with CIPD Scotland, and progress including Fair Work First guidance and tools for employers, and the implementation of Fair Work First in Scottish Public Procurement.

“Conference recognises that Covid-19 has had huge immediate consequences for how many of us work, but it will also have a lasting impact. Conference further recognises that as we move into a period of recovery and renewal, we want to do more to support people achieve a healthy work-life balance.

“Conference agrees with the Social Justice and Fairness Commission report (May 2021) finding that ‘with a fair work agenda, and the increased productivity it creates, there is a strong argument for introducing greater provision for a four-day week’.

“Conference applauds the SNP manifesto commitment to establish a £10 million fund to allow companies to pilot and explore the benefits of a four-day working week and use the learning from this to consider a more general shift to a four-day working week, and creating a wellbeing economy.

“Conference notes the publication of ‘Going Public: Iceland’s journey to a shorter working week’ study which adds to this learning.

“Conference calls on the Scottish Government to learn from each other as fellow members of the Wellbeing Economy Governments (WEGo), of how working practices could and should be adapted to meet the needs of the future economy.”