The Greens warn against overworking workers – SPD rejects the FDP’s demand to abolish the eight-hour day

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Written By Maya Cantina

“It is important that we as legislators provide a framework, especially for areas with physical work or shift work,” SPD deputy faction leader Verena Hubertz told the Editorial Network Germany (RND). “This also includes the principle of the 8-hour day, as agreed in the coalition agreement.” Yet it makes sense to reform the Working Hours Act. “Flexible working is already a reality for many people in companies and it is good to further develop the Working Hours Act.” Collective and corporate agreements are crucial here. In addition, a distinction must be made between office work and shift work.

SPD faction leader Katja Mast emphasized that paying overtime and increasing the minimum wage are more important than making working time rules more flexible. “Abstract working time debates don’t help anyone,” Mast told RND. “We first talk specifically about the workload and working conditions of the nurse, the forklift driver and the people who work thousands of hours of overtime without seeing a single cent in return.” The issue of the minimum wage is also a priority: “For us, a higher minimum wage is an absolute priority. And this one will come.”

Greens: “Don’t weaken the law at the expense of workers.”

The Greens warned that making working hours more flexible should not lead to overburdening of employees. “Protecting employees from excessive working hours is crucial for an attractive business location,” deputy parliamentary group leader Andreas Audretsch told RND. “The Working Hours Act provides the framework; we will not weaken the law to the detriment of workers.”

In the RND interview, FDP faction deputy Lukas Köhler called for the abolition of the legal limit on maximum daily working hours and the establishment of only a maximum weekly working time. In the coalition agreement, the SPD, the Greens and the FDP agreed to create so-called experimental spaces. Deviations from the current maximum daily working hours can then be recorded in individual collective labor agreements or company agreements. In principle, according to the coalition agreement, the eight-hour day must be maintained.

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