Shorter Working Time – Helsinki Seminar

Online Conference

This Seminar is a joint initiative of the Communist Party of Finland and the Party of the European Left, with the participation of transform! europe, presenting its current studies on labour, on Sunday 7, 13:00 to 13:30 CET (European Labour Initiatives).


The conference will be held online via Zoom.

To participate, click here


All times are in Finnish time (UTC +2, CET +1)

February 6

11:00 – 11:15: Opening, welcome, introducing of day’s program

11:15 – 12:45: European Trade Union movement and politics

A discussion about the power, role and meaning of the national Trade Union movements in different European countries. How fluent is the collaboration between European Trade Unions and does it have an opportunity to affect to the European political questions? Or how to take an idea of the shorter working time to key theme of the European Trade Union movement?


  • Yota Lazaropoulou, group of Trade Unionists ergasiaSimera (Greece)
  • Heinz Bierbaum, Chairperson of the European Left

12:45 – 13:00: Break

13:00 – 14:00: Shorter working time from the point of view of income distribution

The scale of income and wealth inequalities under the capitalistic market economy are huge. Riches accumulate for the few and at the same time many people have to do two or even three jobs and their income can still be uncertain. How shortening working time helps to decrease income and wealth inequalities between society classes and also genders? Discussion also about the perspective of justice.


  • Martti Vaskonen, Member of the council of Trade Union JHL
  • Mervi Grönfors, Vice Chairperson of CPF
  • Anni Rolig, Chair of Feminist Party’s Work and income working group

14:15 – 14:30: Break

14:00 – 15:00: Working time experiences from Europe

In Germany the metal workers have a 35-hour working week and in France a general working week shortened to the same amount already a couple of decades ago. In Sweden has been implemented many positive expiriments of 6-hour  working week already in long time. The discussion will focus on different working time models and expiriments that have been implemented in different European countries. What has been the main subjects that have achieved those reforms and what experiences they give for the trade unionists of other countries to their struggle for the shorter working time?


  • Felicity Dowling, National Secretary, Left Unity (UK)
  • Kevin Guillas-Cavan, Economist, French Communist Party

15:00 – 15:15: Interim summary

15:15 – 15:30: Break

15:30 – 16:30: Is the shorter working time a solution for all sectors or industries?

Could the so called change of work and reformed labor market affect to benefits and arguments of shorter working time? The phenomenon of this day – growing creative sector – is an interesting subject to the trade union’s political discussion too. Is it possible to define the working time model that serves the best way for creative sector?


  • Anna Koskela, Dance Artist, Editor in Charge of Trade Union for Theatre and Media Finland’s magazine Liitos
  • JP (Juha-Pekka) Väisänen, Conseptual Artist, Chairperson of CPF


  • Ilkka Aho, Visual Artist

16:30 – 17:30 The change begins from workplaces – worker’s opportunities to affect to working time questions

To increase awareness about the benefits of the shorter working time at workplaces and in local trade unions is of paramount importance. How workers can arouse the interest at workplaces and encourage to the common struggle for the shorter working time? Or how to talk about the working time questions in coffee table discussions?


  • Lorenzo Battisti, Communist Party of Italy PCI
  • Saana Simonen, Activist, Left Alliance


February 7

11.00 – 11.15: Opening, introducing of day’s program

11.15 – 12.15: Finnish experiments of the shorter working time

In Finland many companies and workplaces have experimented shorter working time and experiments have implemented with the public funding too. What results those experiments have given and how the shorter working time effected for example to the safety and healthy at work and to the work productivity? The discussion will focus also on what sectors or industries have a biggest need of new working time models right now when the 8-hour working day has been in use already over a century?


  • Pekka Peltola, Labor Market Counselor, Non-fiction Writer
  • Ulla Grünstein, Designer


  • Jiri Mäntysalo, Chairperson of Communist Youth of Finland

12.15 – 13.45: The connection between working time and environmental crisis

To solve the environmental crisis it becomes more necessary to reduce consumption and the material production. Right now trade union movement should take prevention of environmental crisis and saving biodiversity throught changes in working life as one of the main goals to the agenda and propose concrete acts. Discussion about how the effect of shorter working time could be possible to canalize to decrease the material overproduction and how to take environmental and climate aspect as one of the main arguments of shorter working time.


  • Juha Aromaa, Communications Manager, Greenpeace Finland
  • Pierre Eyben, Chairperson, Mouvement Demain (Belgium)
  • Samuli Sinisalo, Kalevi Sorsa Foundation


  • Tiina Sandberg, General Secretary of CPF

13.45 – 14.00: Break

14.00 – 14.30: European Labour Initiatives

presented by Danai Koltsida (transform! europe), Edoardo Esposto and Beatrice Casas Gonzales
Progressive Narratives. The Future of Labour Law as Envisaged by Europe’s National Labour Movements

14.30 – 15.30: To get rid of capitalist wage work

Discussion about new society models and economical systems and non-capitalist forms of work. Reducing working time can be a step towards society of future that is not depended on the wage work system. How to take the next steps and get rid of capitalism and how to organize work in a time after the wage work?


  • Jari Karttunen, General Secretary of DCA (Finland)

15.30 – 16.30:  Value of worker’s free time

Alongside reducing working time worker’s free time will be increased but how it’s connected to work. Many employees and politicians talk about productivity and efficiency but how to define in reality what is socially and economically productive work and what’s not. Is the importance of unpaid work for example still noticed serious enough? Which are the means to speed up the change of working culture so that also free time and recovery would be respected?


  • Anna-Mili Tölkkö, Special Class Teacher
  • Liisa Taskinen, Chief Physician, Vice Chairperson of CPF
  • Petri Palmu, Researcher, Trade Union Pro

16.30 – 17.00: Summary of the seminar, closing