The BBC reports on a so-called Think Tank, The Centre for Economics and Business Research, who have come to the conclusion that the British public aren’t working hard enough to rebuild the economy and that all Bank Holidays should be abolished. Myself, I’m enjoying a lazy long weekend, drinking tea, eating chocolate eggs and writing this blog post when I really should be at work – according to these people who are paid to come up with these ideas that our current government will no doubt think are fantastic.
We already have less holidays than other countries and as many people in retail, including me and my regular trade customers (builders, cabinetmakers, glaziers and so on) have said the economy needs people who can to spend the money they have in order to boost confidence (much of this spending happens on bank-holidays, when people have nothing else to do but go round the shops). When businesses have money coming in the staff feel more secure and will, in turn buy things they might not have done when in fear for their jobs. Little by little we recover, eventually with more demand comes pay rises and more job vacancies, this takes time but it is possible.
The media are not helping though, with constant doom-mongering about how things can only get worse. Combine this with abolishing what for many are their only guaranteed days off then you have a recipe for a disillusioned and disheartened workforce that can see no silver lining and only have the feeling that the light at the end of the tunnel must have been switched off to save money. It is well-known that people in such situations are often less productive so therefore this would be causing more harm than good. (Edit: I know many people work on bank holidays but most should have an offset day to make up for it so they would still lose out.)
The think tank points to South Korea whose economy is recovering faster and whose people work on average 500 hours per year more than we do, which is 9 hours per week. They haven’t specified whether this is two hours per day more than those who work the longest or shortest hours in this country. They also don’t point out that much of European manufacturing is done in Asia.
Would taking away valuable, morale boosting extra days off where we get to recharge our batteries and forget work and spend time with family and friends or get away and have a change of scenery really make up for the extra couple of hours per day some South Koreans work?