Long, leisurely siesta lunches in Spain could soon be coming to an end.
Fundacin Independiente, a research organisation based in Madrid, has launched a campaign to bring the Spanish workday in line with most of the rest of Europe.
At the moment, a typical Spanish worker begins his day at 9am, then breaks from 2pm until 5pm for lunch, and starts again from 5pm until 8pm or 9pm.
Carlos Sanchez Reyes, president of the Spanish Organisation of Consumers and Users, said the long days mean that parents get home just in time to give the children dinner and put them to bed, but find it hard to relax.
“There’s no family life and some of the best television programmes don’t come on until late at night. Yet Spaniards must still get up early and get to work.
“They don’t get enough sleep and this could provoke accidents,” Reyes warned.
The campaign aims to put pressure on government agencies and trade unions to trim the lunch hour so workers can go home at a reasonable time, and there has already been some movement on the issue.
Reyes said that Esperanza Aguirre, president of the community of Madrid, recently announ-ced that her office hours would change and no-one at her office would work after 6pm.