Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Spain may put the clocks back to GMT to aid productivity

At the moment, Spain runs one hour ahead of the U.K. in winter and two hours ahead in summer, but that could all change.

Photo by Muffingg / CC BY-SA 3.0

Discussions are afoot to make Spain go back in time –  without the aid of a time machine –  as the government considers changing back to the original GMT time zone.

The country does officially lie in the same time zone and both Portugal and the U.K., but the dictator Francisco Franco decided to change it in 1942 to keep in line with Germany, under his then great pal Adolf Hitler. With the exception of the Canary Islands, that time zone change has stayed in place ever since.That is until now.

The writer reported back in 2013 that talks were ongoing to change the time zone, to keep it in line with GMT. Now things appear to be firming up.

According to labour minister, Fatima Ibañez, the current time zone has led to Spaniards working longer days than workers in other European countries. Now the Spanish government is saying that changing to Greenwich Mean Time would reduce the length of the working day and improve productivity in the country, by allowing workers to strike a better work/life balance. 

According to a statement by Ibañez on Monday, December 12, the government will seek agreement with representatives of companies and trade unions to allow the reform of the time zone. The plan was reportedly approved in August this year by the Partido Popular and Ciudadanos parties.

Will Spain changing to GMT improve workers' hours?

When reading comments on a report by Euro Weekly News on the subject, some people do rightly point out that people's working hours will remain the same. They will simply move back one or two hours –  depending on the season at the time –  so it is debatable whether this will actually help.

No doubt those of us here in Spain who suffer whenever there is a daylight savings change will feel it even more, should the country definitely decide to change to GMT. However, we will, at least, gain an hour or two that day.