Lindsey Oil Refinery workers strike, photo Sean Figg

Lindsey Oil Refinery workers strike, photo Sean Figg   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

As unemployment soars Britain will still have the longest working week in the European Union. New Labour has consistently fought for the right to opt out of EU laws limiting the working week to a maximum of 48 hours.

More than four million workers in Britain work longer than that each week in order to make ends meet.

This is the lunacy of capitalism – millions thrown on the scrapheap while others work their fingers to the bone.


By introducing a 35-hour week with no loss of pay – in other words sharing out the work – it would be possible to dramatically decrease the number of unemployed while simultaneously improving the quality of life of working class people.

If this was combined with a massive increase in public services it would be possible to eliminate unemployment.

This would allow us to develop a vastly better public transport system, build more housing, and train and hire more teachers, doctors and nursing staff.

For example, up and down the country building workers are being laid off. Meanwhile there are five million people, two million households, who are desperate for social housing.

Why can’t the two be matched up with a massive high quality, affordable, council house building programme? This idea immediately raises the need to nationalise the major building companies under democratic control.

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