a part of production time during which workers operate directly on an object of labor in order to produce a finished product of labor. A work period does not include interruptions in the labor process or the time during which an object of labor is acted upon by natural forces without human participation, for example, in drying wood and in chemical reactions.
Upon considering the relationship between a work period and a workday, K. Marx characterized a work period as being “a definite number of consequent workdays required in a certain branch of a production sector for the completion of the finished product” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch, 2nd ed., vol. 24, p. 259). Work periods differ in length in different branches of material production, depending on both the nature of the production process and the product of labor being manufactured. For example, yarn and fabrics are made in a few hours, while a rug may take a week to make and a tapestry may take years. A modular residential building can be constructed in several months, while a large electric power plant takes several years to build.
Scientific and technological progress leads to the reduction of a work period. Under capitalism, however, a decrease in a work period is accompanied by an intensification of labor and the use of the sweatshop system. Under socialism, the work period decreases and the intensity of labor for workers remains normal; this is a result of planned measures to improve the organization of production and labor, refine technological processes, specialize production, and comprehensively use new scientific and technical achievements.
V. V. MOTYLEV