City’s plan to reduce work days to 6 hours-a-day met with controversy

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GOTHENBURG, Sweden – Controversy is brewing in the City of Gothenburg over a plan to reduce working hours to six hours-a-day.

Gothenburg is Sweden’s second largest city.

The city council says shortening the work week will improve efficiency and lead to staff taking fewer sick days.

In the Toyota Car Service Center, technicians already work 30 hours-a-week, but they are paid for 40.

Elisabeth Jonsson, Toyota Service Center manager, said, “We can see they’re more efficient. We can see that their attitude has been improved. We can see they have less sick leave. Happier staff.”

Magnus Vikstrom, a mechanic at the center, said, “I think it’s quite a big difference actually from eight hours to six hours because when we worked eight hours, maybe in the last hour you weren’t effective. In six hours, you go here and do the work and then you go home. It’s a big difference.”

The city government hopes to see the same benefits when it runs a test program of reduced work hours for some government workers.

However, some say it is unacceptable to use taxpayer money to pay workers for hours they aren’t working.

Maria Ryden, Gothenburg’s deputy mayor, said, “This is exactly the type of economics which have drained and ruined the finances in other countries in Europe, like Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal. It’s sorry to say it, but this socialist politics has ruined the finances.”

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