A powerful German union is pushing for a four-day week
一个强大的德国工会正在推动四天工作制

周末计划 Weekend plans-书迷号 shumihao.com

A RECESSION IS not a good time to ask your boss for a pay rise. So IG Metall, Germany’s biggest trade union, is mulling other perks its metal-bashing members might extract from employers. On August 15th its boss, Jörg Hofmann, told the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper he would push for firms to adopt a four-day working week.
经济衰退期不是向老板提加薪的好时机。所以德国最大的工会金属行业工会(IG Metall)正在琢磨它那些敲铜打铁的会员们还能从雇主那里争取到什么别的福利。8月15日,工会主席约尔格·霍夫曼(Jörg Hofmann)告诉《南德意志报》(Süddeutsche Zeitung),他将推动企业施行每周四天工作制。

German workers should not make Friday leisure plans just yet. Employers have not responded—it is mid-August, after all—but they are likely to put up a fight. Nonetheless, Mr Hofmann’s salvo ahead of collective-bargaining talks later this year points to a new stage in European labour relations—and a culmination of decades of pushing for working hours to be cut.
德国工人也别急着制定周五休闲计划。雇主们还没有做出回应,毕竟这会儿才8月中旬,但他们很可能会抵抗。尽管如此,霍夫曼在今年晚些时候的劳资集体谈判启动之前突然开出这一炮,表明欧洲的劳资关系进入了一个新阶段,几十年来推动削减工时的努力也达到了顶峰。

If you think no worker would object to a three-day weekend, think again. Even fans fret about trade-offs. Workers could face longer hours from Monday to Thursday, or a cut in pay. Some employers, notably technology startups, already dangle longer weekends to recruit sought-after brainboxes, or offer flexible hours. But a five-day slog will probably remain the norm in lower-paid jobs, where productivity gains from more rest are less obvious.
如果你觉得没有员工会反对“三休日”周末,再想想。就连支持者也还在权衡利弊。员工可能要在周一到周四工作更久,或者减薪。有些雇主,尤其是科技创业公司,已经在以更长的周末为诱饵招募那些抢手的聪明人,或是提供弹性工作时间。但在薪水较低的工种中,五天的辛苦劳作可能仍将是常态,因为这些岗位休息更久对提高生产率的作用更不明显。

IG Metall’s timing is not coincidental. Its members agreed to forgo a pay rise in the covid-19 crisis. Around 6m Germans currently participate in the Kurzarbeit furlough scheme, estimates IFO, a think-tank. The 12-month scheme now looks likely to be extended to 24 months. Hubertus Heil, Germany’s labour minister, said truncated working hours—and a trimmed payslip—could be “an appropriate measure”. State top-ups of the wages of employees who go down to four days a week might be painted as part of the extension.
IG Metall选择的时机并非巧合。它的会员在疫情期间同意了放弃加薪。据智库IFO估算,目前约有600万德国人参加了“短时工作制”(Kurzarbeit)。这个为期12个月的方案现在看来很可能会延长到24个月。德国劳工部长胡贝图斯·海尔(Hubertus Heil)表示,缩短工时——由此也削减了工资——可能是“一项适宜的举措”。政府为每周工作减至四天的员工提供工资补贴或许可被描绘成延长计划的一部分。

German workers face problems beyond covid-19. The car industry that underpins blue-collar jobs has been slow to shift to electric vehicles, let alone driverless ones. IG Metall thinks cutting hours will allow firms to retain expertise needed for the transition, without the expense and bad publicity of sacking workers, only to have to rehire some later if prospects improve.
除疫情之外,德国工人还面临其他问题。支撑蓝领工作岗位的汽车工业向电动汽车的转变一直很缓慢,更不用说无人驾驶汽车了。IG Metall认为缩短工时可以让公司保留过渡期所需的专业技能,而不用承担解雇工人产生的费用和负面公共影响,只需要等前景好转时重新雇一些人。

Where IG Metall goes others often follow, in Germany and beyond. Its members were striking for a 35-hour week long before it became law in France. A four-day week equates to around 30 hours. If union bosses pull that off without causing big cuts to workers’ pay, they truly will deserve an extra day of rest.■
IG Metall一行动,德国的其他工会乃至其他国家经常都会跟上。在法国立法确立每周35小时工作制之前很久,IG Metall的会员就在罢工争取这个工作时长了。而四天工作制相当于每周工作30个小时左右。如果工会领袖们能在不大幅削减工人工资的情况下实现这个时长,那他们真的配得上多休息一天。