Poll: Red Wall voters more likely to back Labour if party supports four-day week

Katie Neame

Half of ‘Red Wall’ voters would be more likely to vote Labour in a future general election if the opposition party re-commits to introducing a four-day working week with no loss of pay for workers, according to polling published today.

The survey, carried out by Survation on behalf of the 4 Day Week campaign, found strong support among Red Wall voters for a four-day, 32-hour working week – with 66% of all voters and 75% of women in favour of the idea.

Survation polled 1,015 adults in the week before the local elections in constituency seats in the Midlands and the North that switched from Labour to the Conservatives at the 2019 election. Its survey found that 50% of Red Wall voters would be more likely to vote for any political party at the next election that is committed to implementing a four-day working week.

The research revealed that support for the policy was greater among women in the Red Wall constituencies, with 58% of the women surveyed saying that they would be more likely to support a party that backs bringing in a four-day week.

Support for the proposal was strong among young people, with 70% of 18- to 34-year-olds telling researchers that they would be more likely to vote for a party committed to a four-day working week. The polling also found that 40% of Labour voters would be more likely to vote for the Tory Party if it backed the idea.

4 Day Week Campaign director Joe Ryle said: “The four-day week with no loss of pay is a win-win for workers and employers. By re-affirming the party’s commitment to a four-day week before the next election, Labour could win big in the Red Wall.

“Overworked and stressed British workers are desperate for a better work-life balance after the pandemic.”

A four-day working week will trialled by 60 companies across the UK from June to December. The pilot scheme is expected to involve more than 3,000 workers and is thought to be the largest of its kind to take place anywhere in the world.

The pilot is being run by 4 Day Week Global in partnership with the think tank Autonomy, the 4 Day Week Campaign and researchers at Cambridge University, Oxford University and Boston College.

Trials in Iceland, which took place between 2015 and 2019, were found by researchers to have been an “overwhelming success“, leading to many workers reducing their working hours.

The trials saw workers being paid the same amount for shorter hours. The research found that productivity remained the same or improved in the majority of workplaces taking part.

Writing for LabourList earlier this week, writer and campaigner Adam Peggs argued that shorter working hours “require bigger and broader changes than can be achieved from labour market policy alone”.

He added: “Achieving a shorter working week will require centring workers and trade union organising and adopting an approach that is genuinely universalist – one that offers change for workers in the here and now, and addresses the precarity and poverty pay endemic in the labour market.”

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