European Debate on Shorter Working Times

In the face of mass-unemployment and the resurgence of nationalist movements in Europe the question of a fairer sharing of work becomes increasingly urgent.

Growing demand for working places emerges from the rationalising effects of digitalisation and automation and also from the large number of refugees who need to be integrated into the labour market. Also people with care obligations need shorter working hours. And for fair gender relations a redistribution of working time with shorter working hours for fulltime workers, mostly men, and longer working hours for part time workers, mostly women, would be crucial.

The only realistic and ecologically responsible way to meet these demands is to redistribute the existing work. If we want to avoid rivalry between the countries of Europe this must be done in a European context.

With the working group "ArbeitFairTeilen" of Attac Germany and the Collectif Roosevelt from France, we have taken the initiative to organise a first meeting of organisations and individuals who are debating, proposing or working on the redistribution of work through shorter working hours.

Participants of this conference are representatives of social movements and trade unions, the scientific community and members of the European Parliament. We will exchange ideas on shorter working hours (around 30h per week) and consider strategies for working together for the realisation of this project.



Thursday 20.10.16

15.30 Welcome Coffee
16.00 Opening and presentation of the workshop agenda

Margareta Steinrücke, Attac
David Feltz, Collectif Roosevelt
Dr. Martin Schirdewan, Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, Brussels Office
16.30 Statement of the Member of the European Parliament

Thomas Händel, GUE/NGL
16.45 Debates on Working Time in Europe - a review of the discourse in trade unions and politics

Lecture by Dr. Steffen Lehndorff, IAQ-University Duisburg

17.45 Presentation of the Expertise "Longer Work? Shorter Work? What must we do to have better work for everybody?"

Lecture by Jean Marie Perbost/economist and journalist, Paris

18.30 End

Friday 21.10.16

9.00 Welcome
9.30 Opening and today’s agenda
9.45 The role of the trade unions in the working time debate - report

Thomas Müller, European Trade Union Institute, Brussels

10.15 Short reports from trade unions, social movements, scientists --- structured discussion I
11.00 Coffee Break
11.15 Short reports from trade unions, social movements, scientists --- structured discussion II
12.15 Lunch
13.00 Statements of Members of the European Parliament

Evelyn Regner, Social democrats
Philippe Lamberts, Greens-EFA
13.30 Discussion of steps to develop strategies for shorter working hours in Europe
15.00 Summary of the results of the discussions and preparation of a common declaration on shorter working hours in Europe
16.00 End of the meeting


Participation on invitation only.


In coorporation with:

Attac, Germany - Arbeitsgruppe ArbeitFairTeilen
Collectif Roosevelt, France
ZASS - Stiftung Zukunft der Arbeit und der sozialen Sicherung