The Four-Day Week Gains Pace With Desigual Workers To Vote

The textile giant’s 500 office workers are voting on a proposal that will mean a reduction of 6.5% in salary but with 13% fewer hours worked per week, says Eugene Costello

The four-day working week – or three-day weekend – continues to gain strength in Spanish companies. After Telefónica announced that it is going to implement this structure in a pilot test starting in October, now the Desigual textile firm has the same proposal to its employees at its head office in Barcelona, some 502 employees, but also reducing salaries.

The company is to offer staff the option of working four days (three in the office, and one teleworking from home), reducing their working hours by 13%, from the current 39.5 hours per week to 34.5, according to Las Provincias. Half of the associated salary reduction will be absorbed by Desigual, while employees will take a salary cut of 6.5%. For example, an employee who earns €25,000 euros gross per year will see a reduction to €23,375.

The proposal must be accepted by three-quarters of the staff to be implemented, who have until October 7 to vote. The company has opened a process of “information and analysis” to resolve any doubts before the vote, it says in a statement. In addition, until the vote employees can participate in a pilot test.

If it goes ahead, it will be implemented from mid-October. In addition, the rest of the staff, such as store employees, commercial and operations teams – who are not affected by this change of model at head office – will also obtain “improvements in work models” that are aimed to be “more conciliatory”.

Desigual is headquartered in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, and was started by Thomas Meyer in 1984. The company has a presence in 107 countries, with different distribution channels and several partners. The company works with Spanish and international designers and artists.

In Valencia, they have a store on trendy Calle de Colón and outlets at Bonaire and the airport.

These months have shown us that we can organize work and teams in a different way and remain efficient, prioritizing what is truly important

The company’s objective is for its employees to be able to reconcile “more and better”, to “enjoy what they do and to combine it with their private life”, Desigual CEO Alberto Ojinaga says.

“These months have shown us that we can organize work and teams in a different way and remain efficient, prioritizing what is truly important. I believe that this 4-day (3 + 1) working day is a challenge that makes us more attractive as an organization, which will allow us to attract the best talent,” Ojinaga adds.

This proposal comes after a crisis that has impacted on the brand’s sales. In 2020, its turnover fell almost 40% to €360m, which made it close the year with losses of more than €83m. The four-day work week would allow them to reduce staff costs with a more efficient organization.

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