Reduction in the Statutory Work Week and Working Conditions: A Comparison of the Industrial and Service Sectors Based on Two Surveys

By Colette Franciosi, Erwan Jaffrès

Two recent questionnaire surveys conducted among employees in the service industry (banks and insurance companies) and those in industry (paper making, graphical industry, regional daily press) show that a greater proportion of employees in the service industry noticed that a reduction in the work week came with the degradation of their working conditions and that they are generally less satisfied by the reduction in statutory working time. In addition to, a different tradeoff between working time and working conditions that may differ slightly depending on the industry type, a key reason behind these diverging assessments may be found in the diverging flexibilities employees are exposed to. In the service industry, they are subject to individual arbitrages in the form of requirements for multi-skilled workers and having to work overtime for free, whereas in the industrial sector, workers are still protected by collective bargaining agreements.


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