Bring back the eight hour working day

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We work too hard these days, says Shaun Newman, who advocates a return to the work, rest and play that came with an eight-hour working day.

Remember the good old days?

After decades of struggle by union members, Australia achieved a 40 hour week. The motto was "8 hours labor, 8 hours recreation and 8 hours rest" (see image opposite).

This has disappeared in the 21st century as working people are expected to work longer and longer hours, some of those hours unpaid, to the detriment of the unfortunate working person coerced into working them and also to the overall Australian economy.

We are witnessing the rise of stress levels, especially in the young. I am constantly reminded when I visit my healthcare centre of the stress of reception/ counter staff trying their best to do three things at once. One can only wonder at the home life of these people, arriving home after a shift stressed to the maximum, making it extremely difficult, I assume, to communicate with one’s partner and children.

The wellbeing of our society has been given second place behind the commercial greed and selfishness of most businesses these days, without a thought for the people being driven into uncontrollable stress and depression; frankly, it’s absolutely disgusting. The social cost of having parents at work is being borne by the community, with crime statistics ever increasing, lawlessness because of the lack of supervision from parents, and mental health disorders now rife — with 25% of the population affected.

It’s time to begin campaigning to re-gain what we have lost and return to an 8 hour working day.

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