Series on working time reduction looks at Spain and Portugal

Portugal Spain

The latest in EPSU’s series of articles looking at working time reduction across Europe examines the experience of public service trade unions in Spain and Portugal. In both countries the imposition of austerity after the financial crisis in 2009 included increases in working hours. The article follows the progress made by Spanish unions in gradually returning to a 35-hour week from the imposed 37-hour week and their intention to continue to push for further progress towards a shorter working week. In Portugal, public service unions were confronted by a unilateral decision of the government to increase working time from 35 to 40 hours a week with no increase in pay. To counter this unions negotiated hundreds of agreements with local authorities and other institutions to retain the 35-hour week. They continue to negotiate to ensure that all public service workers, particularly those in health care are on the 35-hour week. Earlier articles in the series covered Austria, Iceland and the Nordic countries – Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

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