Ministers should listen to the evidence on South Cambs four-day week

Government ministers should rethink their knee-jerk rejection of a trial into the four-day week at South Cambridgeshire Council and wait for the evidence, UNISON says today.

Local government minister Lee Rowley has written to the council blocking an extension of the “experiment” into a reduced working week, according to media reports at the weekend.

The Tory minister claimed four-day working was “unlikely” to demonstrate value for taxpayer money.

But council workers’ union UNISON says early signs are overwhelmingly positive.

UNISON Eastern head of local government Alex Porter said: “It’s too early to tell for sure how a four-day working week is affecting council services in South Cambridgeshire, but the signs so far are good.

“Vacancies are being filled, staff are happier and — as a result — work is getting done more efficiently.

“Instead of looking into the evidence, Lee Rowley has rejected the trial out of hand because of a few close-minded grumblings.

“Councils should be dynamic — exploring new ways of providing services and offering attractive careers. Shutting down this trial does a disservice to the taxpayer.

“We urge Lee Rowley to rethink this knee-jerk reaction and give South Cambridgeshire the chance to explore how the four-day week can work in local government.”