Sunday, November 26, 2006

How to Destroy Jobs in 35 Hour Easy Lessons

Words fail me. Almost. Read THIS and you'll see why. Apparently John Gummer's Quality of Life Working Group is considering whether the Conservatives should emulate French Socialists and ruin the country's competitiveness by adopting a 35 hour working week. Gummer says: "We have to look at it. This is an issue that we have got to raise." Er, no it isn't actually. If employers wish to introduce a 35 hour week that is up to them . This is not a matter which the State should be intervening on. It would destroy jobs and reduce our competitiveness. I can hardly believe a Conservative could entertain such a proposal.

44 comments:

Johnny Norfolk said...

It is of great concern on the way the Tories are going when they come up with this sort of thing.
I will not vote for a leftie party that comes up with this sort of thing.

Ask Pritti Patel what she thinks of it.

towcestarian said...

Iain. Can I now assume you are starting to see why most of us ex-Conservatives have deserted DC and his loony advisers. I suspect UKIP will be forking out for another buch of flowers tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Why should any true Conservative be surprised that gumboil has produced this policy .Was he not JM's Party chairman and has he not had a wink from Dave?
Or is he just trying to "Currie" favour?

Koolio said...

As Michael Winner would say, "calm down dear, it's only a Telegraph story". I'm sure its posturing, to make the Conservatives look more cuddly.

As for the 35 hour working week, it's been bad news for many in France but ironically, big business has been the winner. Why? Because they make their workers do exactly 35 hours of work a week. Yhey have managed to make their workers more productive. Now every gesture is timed and no minute is wasted. For example, workers get a two minute "pause pipi" in the morning and a three minute break in the afternoon so they can empty their bowels. It's timed at three minutes. So only time spent working is accounted for.

But for most businesses, especially smaller ones, the 35 hour week has been a disaster, bringing in more inflexibility and more yet rules.

Yet it's the workers who have lost out. As well as having timed toilet breaks, most have seen their wages frozen, so they get less money and for many, overtime is impossible now so they can't work harder if they want to. It's hit the workers especially hard. The middle classes have done better, taking every Friday afternoon off or accumulating another 24 days of holiday per annum.

These holidays are nice but now the middle-classes are waking up to the fact that their holidays have a cost in lost earnings and slowed economic growth. France is an economic laggard and the middle-classes find prices high and their money just won't go so far.

And in the end, the scheme didn't create many jobs either. But the French don't get economics, if you try to explain to them the idea that making an apple more expensive means people will eat less of them, they'll agree. Tell that you'll make rules making eating apples more complicated and they'll agree with you. Tell them to swap apple for labour and they disagree. So whereas we Brits take demand and supply for granted, the baccalauréat textbook on economics has chapters on marxist economics. As if that's the answer.

So John Gummer, review the matter if you like but don't spend much time...

Nicholas Bennett said...

Well consider it and then reject it (and give some pithy reasons as to why it is such economic and anti-liberterian nonsense.

Anonymous said...

'This is not a matter which the State should be intervening on'.

Iain - this is missing the point. The fact that the Tories are pro / anti / apathetic on the issue of a 35 /48 hour week is neither here or there.

This is now part of the 'competence' of the EU. Okay, Major argued for an opt-out. But as time goes by 'the ever closer union' shuts down such variation between the nations.

The fact that life [and law] is now very different between, say, France and the EU accession states should not blind us to the fact that law is made at EU-wide level. Eventually the national laws will be bye-laws and all legislation on working and health, defence and taxation will be made by the European superstate.

Cranmer said...

Mr Dale forgets the social dimension of the EU project, and the objective of implemeting Catholic Social Doctrine across the Union. One only has to study papal encyclicals to understand the roots of the EU's anti-State, anti-individualist, socialist, federalist, ‘third way’ philosophy. These papal writings originated the concepts of solidarity, the single market, the social chapter, and subsidiarity.

Mr Gummer is a Europhile. Bringing the UK's working week into line with the EU's is necessarily a matter of priority for him.

trumpeter lanfried said...

Like so much Tory party thinking at the moment, this initiative seems to assume that the hard-core Tory vote, based on sound economic analysis, can be taken for granted as "They've nowhere else to go."

I'm not so sure. Leaving aside UKIP, we can always decline to vote, and the way things are going, many of us will do just that.

Anonymous said...

I just don't get restrcitions on working hours. I know a few lefties who tell me that it is essentially to limit working hours to protect workers from bosses who would otherwise force them to work. Apparently this is more important that me deciding how long I want to work.

trumpeter lanfried said...

Do those Danish traffic girls work a strict 35 hour week?

Dr.Doom said...

The conservative party wouldn't entertain a lot of things Iain, as you say. That's why they're talking about windmills and hugging huskies out in the political wilderness.

The state interferes heavily in jobs and job creation/destruction.

Minimum wage affect everyone regarless of income.

48 hour week has destroyed this country, according to this or that blog.

We have the highest workforce for a generation and most paying taxes into the system.

This has led to more money going into the NHS since it's inception and now is above the EU average.

It's not a mistake, it's deliberate.

You are spending too much time listening to your blogging friend the Norfolk blogage.
He just doesn't quite get it at all.

PS. I was the one who offended him and not the person he convinced you who had. Check all of his blogs out.

An injustice.I'm the guilty party and own up to it.

Doom.

Anonymous said...

Iain, what does the Tory party have to do before you realise it no longer reflects your views? If you are hanging in there merely because you think they might get into power then you may as well join Labour. Its time to make your principles count for something and leave them

verity said...

We former Conseravatives don't want a cuddly party. We want a diamond bright, cutting edge, capitalist-driven party. Every day, the Conservatives hammer another nail into their own coffin.

Trumpeter Lanfried - Never waste your vote. Vote destructively. Don't be so passive.

Sir Bentley Pauncefoot said...

I do sometimes wonder if restricting the House of Commons to 35 hours a week, 48 weeks a year, would result in less work being done there, or more.

(and indeed, which of those two outcomes might be of greater benefit to the Nation...)

Anonymous said...

I think some of your readers need to be a bit more like the Conservatives use to be pragmatic.

I am a 30 year old who has been a member of a trade union and the conservatives concurrently in the recent past.

The amount of wasted time individuals in proper jobs i.e. Insurance companies, Banks etc where they have stringent targets to meet tend to be of a 35 hour week. They are the most effiencient places i have worked in and i have been horrified when working in other places at how lazy and unproductive people can be when they have longer hours. Their work slows right down - lets not be dogmatic here it does!

An interesting point is i would agree that the chritisicm of whether the tories should be looking at this is interesting. I would say not on the grounds of the tories should be a freedom and liberation party in both economic and social agenders. However if you have a "liberal" conservative in the social and economic as i then before cameron one started to question why you would support the conservatives. I don't think it was just the packaging and poor leaders.

I actually agree with a 35 working week but it is upto the employer and individual to decide.

Andrew Jones

Lagwolf said...

Why doesn't the Conservative Party rename itself the "Economic Suicide Party" as that is what it has become under Cameron. The only question is where will his idiocies end?

Anonymous said...

I couldn't believe it when I read it. The question of whether a 35 hour week would increase the UK’s productivity is one that should be left to the market to answer.

Moreover if I want to work a 40 hour week that should be my choice, equally it should be entirely my prerogative if I want to work a 60 hour week

towcestarian said...

Verity (very wisely) said:
"Never waste your vote. Vote destructively. Don't be so passive."
I go further and say, for a relatively small amount of money, you can stand against your local Conservative candidate and tell them exactly what you think of their party.

Anonymous said...

The future's bright the future's purple.

TORY COMMENTATOR said...

Beware of such proclamations as their mere existence in opinion is only part of David Cameron's policy strategy of shock and awe.
They make us all wake up,criticise and shout and enable the novo- conservative party to be noticed into the depths of all communication with a potential electorate.
It is this centre ground,liberal and mind bending political arena which is stretching the very soul of traditional conservatism.
It is a mood change before the reality of those appealing policies are proclaimed.

Anonymous said...

CALM DOWN CALM DOWN - these groups are think tanks that chuck out ideas and suggestions. Every party bounces around such ideas - if it can start an open and honest debate - GOOD! At least its showing we are taking all ideas and opinions into consideration before hammering out policy!

Sally Day said...

Calm down,are you another tory tosser.A 35 hour week - no way can I accept this as a Consevative voter.
I am going to vote for UKIP now and I hope they break up the union as well.

billy said...

I started full time work in 1964 and have always imagined that working hours would decrease and retirement come earlier for all working people.
I cannot believe that we are accepting the line that working to 68 and not trying to shorten the working week are 'good' things.
This by MP's that rarely do 35 hours a week, have unbelievably long holidays, can retire earlier than most, and have misspent the nation's pension pot in the first place.

verity said...

Andrew Jones - Could you let us know what your first language is?

Lagwolf - True words spoken in jest!

Re the 35 hours week - the French enjoy having rules. That way, they don't have to show initiative.

When I lived in the Languedoc, in the main square of the town, at the stroke of 12 noon, as though flicked by a common hand, every grill descended over the shop doors and windows. Two minutes later, you had the whole street to yourself to park in.

They drifted back around 2 - 2:15. Again, at the first stroke of five, down came down all the grills in unison, and two minutes after the last stroke of the hour, lights were out in the shops and offices and jammed parking lots were emptying. No one put one extra minute - one extra second - into their work. I have never known such eagle-eyed,fanatical clockwatchers.

Steve said...

Oh calm down. Gummer has said he is going to look into it. I'm just as curious to know why Germany and France have much higher productivity despite worker fewer hours than we do. We need to find the answer to that, and propose changes if necessary. I'm glad someone is looking that the issues.

proud to be anonymous said...

I've never forgotten that odious, sanctimonious clown Gummer as Environment Minister, force-feeding his tiny daughter with a burger on TV to make some self-serving point or other about the safety of British beef. Politicians really will stop at nothing to curry favour and grab headlines.

This is exactly the sort of self-righteous drivel Tosser Gummer (who now rakes it in from a whole string of right-on "environmental" companies) could be expected to come up with. I took voluntary redundancy and am now a self-employed IT specialist. I will work when the hell I want to and for however many hours I want to. If John Gummer doesn't like it he can go stuff a Double Whopper where the sun don't shine.

Sorry for the rant. This makes me so very angry. I used to be a Tory. If this lot think I'm voting for them next time...

Dr.Doom said...

I think we need to hear a convincing case for a pilot working a 60 hour week.

Teachers,Doctors, Surgeons, Air traffic controllers,and others in higher resposible positions are also welcome.

The right to work 48 Hours is there. 60 Hours keeps people unemployed of which a 60 hour weeker has little regard, I'm sure.
Rich bosses like this ilk.

french 35 Hour weekers are more productive than the good 'ol US of A.

Doom.

Rob Spear said...

Billy - work whatever hours you want. Retire whenever you want. The problem comes when the government legislates you to stop you from working more.

Steve - the idea that we can improve productivity by hampering labour market flexibility is ludicrous.

Lisa said...

Doom -- you must be joking when you say that French workers are more productive than the USA workers, right??

I lived and worked in the UK for 8 years and I now live back in the U.S. -- people are encouraged to work more here by fufilling quotas, overtime pay, etc. Our unemployment rate is around 4 percent, the lowest in 15 years! We have more millionaire business owners than ever before.

I hate when people state something about the USA when they know absolutely nothing about it.

Anonymous said...

As a policy (floating or real) this is the economic equivalent of feeding a burger to your daughter on TV at the height of the BSE crisis. Another shot in the foot. I did wonder what on earth Crazy Dave was doing when he appointed the serial failures of Conservativism to various policy task farces.

Ross F said...

Ask John Gummer if he works a 35 hour week. If not why should he force it onton anyone else?

Dr.Doom said...

Lisa, Doom is all powerful and needs little human help to justify his reasoning.

But to offer evidence is normally the case.

Observer/Business/Front page/Sarkozy V's Royale/35hr week/Presidential candidate/agenda for unemployment.

Doom has spoken.

proud to be anonymous said...

The truly wonderful thing is that the Greeks were right. Nemesis will attend upon Tosser Dave, some time next year when a ragbag of policy commissions such as Gummer's will report.

Our Dave will then be forced to define his policies. I do hope the struggle to say what he really thinks doesn't send him mad. The consequences of hubris can be painful to behold.

Anonymous said...

Astonishing. Our flexible working, non-prescriptive labour laws (and that is only relative to the rest of the EU) are one of the main reasons for the success of our economy.

Looking through who is on the quality of life commission, I wonder if they have ever tried making money in France.
I work for a multi-national who has removed all its "pan-European" jobs from France and you can see others trying to move their HQ elsewhere, close down factories, etc.

verity said...

Proud To Be Anonymous - the funniest blog name ever.

I do hope the struggle to say what he really thinks doesn't send him mad.

Why?

Mark Senior said...

For once a post of yours I can agree with Iain . Businesses and entrepeneurs in this country need as much freedom from interference by government as they can to generate wealth for themselves . Minimum wages and restrictions on sweatshop conditions and working hours are no part of the modern Victorian Conservative party .

Anonymous said...

A 35 hour week does not mean we have to close everything down at lunch time. God some of the people who put posts on here need to live in the real world. Not everyone does jobs they like - I bet most of you lot would be crying if you did a proper days work. Not some cushy number in the media or working for an MP or political party or lobbyist.

Nowonder the tories have been in such straights since they first went into opposition - talk about out of touch. You try living on it - bet you change your mind. Portillo accepted the minuim wage as shadow chancellour.

I have been a tory since a young age but i tell you what the dogmatic side of the party do not know how lucky they are - usually with wealthy mummy + Daddy. 35 hour week does not have to be compulsarly implemented but it is a good aspiration. You are pretty ileberal if you think everyone should enjoy doing 60 hours work a week. There is more to life than work and indeed one could argue that this not only enables individualism to flourish but increases the diversefication of business.

To reiterate Insurance companies & banks are the most effiecient enterprises in the UK and they quite often work on a 35 hour week principle. Only if you have had a real job in such an enterprise will you know this. I'd rather have a media job etc anyday as working 60 hours a week in that is much easier believe me i have done both- shove that in your pipe - dogmatic ones!!!

Andrew Jones

Jeremy M-W said...

I'm more appalled at the way Osborne has failed to get a hit on Brown. The man is failed Chancellor walking but there appear to be no focus on exposing how Brown's competence is a charade.

He's lost £100 billion in pension funds but where's the constant reminders from Osborne?

We've had £70 billion wasted on consultancy and failed IT projects yet no constant reminders from Osborne thrown at Brown to get this message through the media mire.

And he changed his Golden Rule so he could borrow more yet zippo from Osbourne.

The debt campaign has been embarrassing and should be one pf the main economic focuses. Not only has Brown sold the future he's been allowed to present an image of economic paradise so we now have out of control consumer debt.

We should be focusing on every debt and bankruptcy report that comes out to expose how the economy is in real danger of going boobs up because Brown has built up such a debt mountain.

We should be jumping on every company that goes under because of debt and the jobs lost.

If Osborne doesn't get his acft together on this he should be moved for someone who knows what the job of an opposition Chancellor is.

no longer anonymous said...

Gummer, who the hell do you think you are to tell me how many hours I can work?

Get a life and leave mine alone.

Anonymous said...

Would it destroy jobs like the minimum wage was supposed to?

That also turned out to be a lot of hysteria and hot air.

proud to be anonymous said...

Tongue firmly in cheek, dear Verity.

Machiavelli's Understudy said...

My (less than one year-old) membership card is ever closer to being posted back to Dave, C/O the Socialist Worker's Conservative Party.

I appreciate the need to throw ideas around and be experimental when researching and developing policy, but there are many things that should not need to be entertained, based on principle.

Anonymous said...

Isn't John Selwyn Gummer involved with the Church of England ? Perhaps it may explain why they are trying to prop up their numbers by merging with the Church of Roam and the Moslems.

Ian Thorpe said...

What? They want English people to actually WORK as much as 35 hours a week. That will not win any votes.