The twin digital and green transition will have far-reaching labour market consequences in the manufacturing sector as regards the quantity, character and quality of employment. The effects of transition will be uneven between countries and regions, different industries and different categories of workers, depending on their various socio-economic starting points and the different degrees to which they are affected by the twin transition. Against this background, industriAll is calling for a just transition that is fair for all workers and that does not destroy, but rather preserves quality employment. Working time policy more generally and working time reduction more specifically is an important tool for achieving such a just transition by helping to safeguard employment and ensure good working and living conditions.
Diversity of working time standards across Europe
Analysing the state of working time arrangements across Europe reveals great diversity. There is still an east–west divide, with considerably longer weekly working hours in central and eastern European countries than in western European countries. The study, furthermore, illustrates the important role of collective agreements in ensuring shorter weekly and annual working hours. A comparison of statutory maximum working hours and collectively agreed working hours illustrates that collective agreements lead to considerably fewer weekly working hours. Moreover, because they ensure additional vacation days on top of the holidays provided for by legislation, collective agreements also help to ensure shorter annual working time. Weekly and annual working time are longer in CEE countries because legislation rather than collective agreements remains the dominant way of regulating working time there. From a sectoral perspective, the analysis illustrates that the collectively agreed working time in the metal and chemical industries tends to be shorter than in the rest of the economy. But the analysis also showed that normal actual weekly working time in the metal and chemical industries were on average more than 2.5 hours longer than collectively agreed working hours.