MERCADONA has launched a four-day week as an ‘exceptional measure’ to protect staff from coronavirus.

In echoes of Jeremy Corbyn’s 2019 general election campaign, staff at the supermarket chain will work for just 36 hours a week, nine hours a day.

The logic behind the progressive move is to reduce contact between staff and customers, while minimising the impacts on productivity.

The new timetable came into force on May 4 and will last throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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It was first tested in a group of 24 stores, but has now been rolled out to all Mercadona outlets.

Shift patterns have been structured so two thirds of a supermarket’s workforce are on shift, while the other third are resting.

Mercadona has said that staff could work a maximum of 10 hours in the case that their shift falls the day before or after a national or regional holiday.

The new shifts are 06:00am to 3:30pm with a 30-minute break and 10:00am to 7:30pm with a one-hour break.

Staggered breaks will allow staff to socially distance from each other.

New shifts will be revealed every Thursday.

Staff, who due to family commitments or other reasons can’t work the new shifts, are able to ‘come to an agreement’ with Mercadona, it is understood.

Discussions to change staff hours involved the CCOO and UGT unions, which make up the nter-Center Committee.

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