‘Immense Disappointment’ that Skills Development Scotland refuse to take part in four-day week pilot

UNISON is immensely disappointed that Skills Development Scotland, the Scottish government’s agency tasked with promoting progressive working practices, has failed to apply to be part of the Scottish government’s pilot for a 32-hour 4-day week.

UNISON welcome that other NDPBs, Scottish Social Services Council, Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration and Scottish Canals, have applied to take part.

Participating organisations will move from 35 hours over 5 days to 32 hours over 4 days, with no loss in pay, in exchange for a commitment to maintain at least 100% productivity. Similar schemes are taking place in Ireland, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Researchers will work with each participating organisation to measure the impact on productivity and the wellbeing of its workers, as well as the impact on the environment and gender equality. The pilots could start as early as September 2022.

UNISON regional organiser Emma Phillips said: “UNISON is immensely disappointed that Skills Development Scotland refused to explore the Scottish government trial of a 32-hour four day week, they should lead on progressive employment policies. And a four-day week, without loss of pay, could bring huge benefits to employers and staff.

Other NDPBs are taking part and have the same pressure of work issues, but at least they recognise that this something we should properly evaluate, as it could be the future of work in Scotland. Skills Development Scotland managers have continually refused UNISON’s requests to even set up a working group to examine the idea.

Staff are coping with a cost-of-living crisis which the Scottish government’s proposed pay rise fails to address. A trial of the four-day week trial could help to mitigate some of the issues. Once again, Skills Development Scotland are failing to listen to their own staff.”

• UNISON is the public services union and the largest union in Scotland.
• UNISON represent staff in the NDPBs, and staff in local government, NHS, social care, education, police staff and utilities.
• After pressure from UNISON and other trade unions the Scottish Government recently announced they were looking for public bodies to volunteer to be part of the Public Sector 4 Day Working Week (4DWW) pilot due to begin later this year. The earliest it will start is September 2022. Interested employers were asked complete and return a ‘Note of interest’ to be part of the pilot no later than Wednesday 4th May 2022. UNISON has recently learned that a number of organisations have put themselves forward but immensely disappointed that SDS did not.

UNISON Contacts:
Emma Phillips:07841 901890
Danny Phillips: 07944 664110