The following letter was originally circulated on April 17 and is republished here for reference.
(COSLA is the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities – the national association of Scottish councils)
We, the SNP Socialists Group, write to you as COSLA representatives with a proposal for the betterment of our communities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a certain introspection. People throughout our land are taking stock of their lives and their own priorities and relationships.
We believe that this is the time where governments, both local and national should review the working practices of employees and wider society and ensuring post-pandemic working lifestyles will lead to a better life experience.
There is no doubt that life will never be the same again. It is now up to our government to lead the way in shaping the future and pioneer a radical path for each and every one of us. The foundation of a productive society is the health and wellbeing of its constituents.
As most elected representatives will be aware, the levels of stress in our society pre-pandemic were of huge concern to the individual as well as a substantial cost to the tax-payer. Long hours and unmanageable workloads are counter-productive. To reduce both would not only address the human and financial cost of sick leave due to stress but also be more productive.
Our concerns as a group is that capitalist elements of our society will look at increasing production by wrongly pushing the workforce into more intensive labour.
We urge you to consider and recommend to COSLA a four day working week. Three consecutive days would be the weekend and one day would be a day where only essential works or works of necessity took place.
The benefits of such a move would be immeasurable. With this proposal, employees would be able to spend more time with families. Time to visit elderly relatives and spending more time with children would be beneficial for families and possibly address social care issues. This could take some pressure off the overstretched care services.
The working hours pre-pandemic were such that most workers used the supermarkets for convenience of time and location.
What a boost to local economies especially remote and island communities that people would have more time to shop locally with no time pressures or constraints. Local businesses need footfall more than anything else and this would increase.
With more free-time to pursue leisure activities, the workforce would have an improved physical and mental health wellbeing. The ability to enrol on educational courses would be open to workers which had previously been impossible.
The third day would allow a universal rest from all activities which would allow physical and mental rejuvenation and replenishment of energy levels in anticipation of the week ahead. By implementing this in the public sector, a radical cultural change would hopefully be embraced by all sections of our society.
As well as an increase in productivity, the savings to local government, for example, should be explored. The financial benefits should be assessed in the form of a report and we believe it would result in savings along with a happier and healthier workforce.
We would ask that if this could not be implemented nationally that local governments would be given devolved powers in order to consider this proposal in their own locality.
SNP Socialists thank you for all you do in the best interest of our communities and wish you all the best for you, your families and your communities at this time.
Yours for an independent socialist Scotland,