Labour unveils plans for a 48-hour cap on working week

The prospect of a 48-hour cap on the working week being introduced in Scotland is among the measures being looked at by Labour in the party's new industrial strategy unveiled today.
Kezia Dugdale unveiled the party's industrial strategy todayKezia Dugdale unveiled the party's industrial strategy today
Kezia Dugdale unveiled the party's industrial strategy today

This could benefit 250,000 Scots working in under pressure places like the NHS with too many people experiencing "long working hours, job monotony and stress" according to the party. The impact of new technology and automation means such a measure is realistic, Labour says, without hitting productivity.

Labour leader Kezia Dugdale is now calling on the UK and Scottish Governments to work with business to consider limiting the working-week to 48 hours by closing EU working directive opt-outs. The party also believes the new powers coming back to Holyrood after Brexit could allow it to introduce the measure in Scotland.

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The document was unveiled by Ms Dugdale along with Labour economy spokeswoman Jackie Baillie and shadow cabinet minister Richard Leonard on a visit to the Leonardo aerospace firm in Edinburgh today. It comes after Scotland escaped falling into recession this week with a jump in growth of 0.8 per cent.

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Ms Dugdale said: “Decline and de-industrialisation is not inevitable. We need to inspire a new generation of world-leading scientists and innovators to give our country the skills we all need to succeed.

“The SNP Government already has the powers to set Scotland on a different course to ensure we are at the cutting edge of the fourth industrial revolution."

A revival in Scottish manufacturing is at the heart of the strategy with Ms Baillie claiming that the SNP has "no industrial strategy" to push Scotland forward.

Labour's strategy backs a commitment to full employment with a focus on the industries and jobs of the future - including decommissioning and renewables, alongside the emerging Financial Technology (FinTech) sector.

Public procurement rules would also freeze out companies and organisations that engage in blacklisting, operate zero-hours contracts, pay below Living Wage levels and other unfair employment practices.

A real living wage of £10-an-hour and a ban on zero hour contracts. The Scottish Investment Bank would also be beefed up with £20 billion of lending power.

Ms Baillie added: "Following Brexit, a UK or Scottish Government could consider ending current opt-outs which fail to deliver on our ambition for an inclusive economy.

"This would potentially benefit thousands of workers across the country, in particular under-pressure NHS staff. We want to start a dialogue with business about the opportunities this would bring."