Ready to work!
In recent years European countries gained a strong reputation of “paradise for lazybones”. According to generally accepted ideas, the model of a “welfare state” formed here encourages dependency. Citizens themselves are said to stand their ground to support the present labour legislation that strongly regulates their relations with employers and restrains economic growth at the same time. France is believed to be a particularly “socialistic” country, especially after it was proved by spring actions of local students protesting against the governmental project of labour legislation liberalization.
However, contrary to generally accepted ideas the most “socialistic” country among the large-scale European countries is not France or Germany, but Spain. According to the survey of Harris Poll centre against order of the Financial Times newspaper, in Spain alone the vast majority of citizens (72%) declared for legislative limitation of workweek maximum duration. The majority of people in other surveyed countries decided that such limitations are unnecessary. The largest amount of people wishing to establish work hours themselves lives in Germany (65%). In France and Great Britain this meaning is shared by 52% of citizens able to work, in Italy – by 43%, while 37% is for limitations.
Nowadays in most West European countries there are limitations of workweek duration, and it is the shortest in France (35 hours). In the beginning of 2005 three fourths of the French declared in favour of 35-hour workweek preservation, and only 18% said that they would like to work more. Now, however, only 3% of the French say that the optimal workweek duration is from 31 to 35 hours. In the opinion of 24% of citizens the optimal duration is 36-40 hours, another 24% would like to work 41-45 hours. 14% of the French are ready to labour 46-50 hours. On average, in five countries 21% of the surveyed want to work 36-40 hours, another 21% - 41-45 hours and 22% - 45-50 hours a week. On the whole, 70% of surveyed Europeans told that on conditions that they are paid sufficiently they would like to work more hours a week than now.
Europeans also do not want to retire mandatory after they reached retirement age. Again only Spaniards resolutely declare for introduction of compulsory retirement, in Italy opinions divided almost equally. In Great Britain however, 65% are against it, in France 51% are against, in Germany – 54%. At the same time 72% of the Englishmen, 67% of the Italians and 56% of Germans are going to continue working (at least part-time working) after retirement. For comparison, according to Gallup and USA Today facts, 51% of Americans intend to work half-days after retirement, 12% are going to work on full pay.
In Russia nowadays eight-hour shift (40-hour workweek) is established. However, according to fund “Public opinion” data, in 2004 only 48% of Russians worked in conformity with law, while 37% worked 9 and more hours a day. RLMS program (The Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey) shows that in 2004 almost 50% of Russian workers laboured 43 hours a week.
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