Catalans take steps to harmonise work hours
Catalonia has moved a step closer to abandoning the long working hours and protracted lunch breaks that have tested Spaniards’ powers of endurance for more than seven decades by adopting an initiative to reset people’s work-life balance.
Last week, an alliance of 110 companies, trade unions, educational groups and social activists signed up to a working hours reform pact, which aims to make the working day shorter and more flexible.
Workers in Spain tend to start their day around 9am, break for coffee mid-morning and then work until 2pm. The lunch break lasts two or three hours, after which they return to work until 8pm or later.
Such a late finish means that dinner isn’t eaten before 9pm. Add in a couple of hours of TV to help wind down, and people end up going to bed well after midnight.
Fabian Mohedano, a spokesman for Reforma Horària, the group behind the pact, said the long and disjointed working day was affecting people’s wellbeing and family lives.
“The analysis is all very simple,” he said. “We have a problem with our working hours, which have a direct impact on our health.
“Why? Because of circadian rhythms and because we’ve stopped doing what millions of people do all over the world: eating breakfast early in the morning, having lunch between 12pm and 2pm; eating dinner between 7pm and 9pm. We don’t eat breakfast in the morning as we’ve gone to bed on a full stomach because we’ve eaten dinner so late the night before.”