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It's not over yet but employers are responding

04 August 2009

Not that we really need reminding how the current economic conditions are harming Britain's manufacturing sector, a recent workers survey confirms how gloomy prospects really are. The optimism being reported in the housing market and signs of recovery in the financial sector are not yet being echoed in the manufacturing industries.

It's not over yet but employers are responding
It's not over yet but employers are responding

But a small majority of workers are happy with the way their employers are handling the problems of recession.

According to a survey of over 2,900 people carried out at the end of June by the Keep Britain Working campaign, 47% of manufacturing workers are more pessimistic about job prospects now than they were in May, while only 16% were more optimistic – 31 point less. But although the index score is negative, manufacturing job pessimism has lifted 12 points since May when the index figure was minus 43.

Overall, 52% of workers across the UK feel positive about their employers' response to the recession. Nearly a quarter - 23% - believe their employer is doing absolutely everything they can to support their staff through the recession. However, 48% of people in work believe that their employer is actively exploiting the situation by imposing unnecessary pay cuts, reduced hours and redundancies.

July's Keep Britain Working Job Optimism Index stands at minus 24 with 46% of people more pessimistic about job prospects than last month while 22% are more positive.

James Reed, founder of the Keep Britain Working campaign said: “The unprecedented flexibility of the UK workforce, underpinned by positive relationships between staff and bosses, has saved jobs and prevented the unemployment figures from rising even faster. However, our finding that some UK workers feel exploited is a wake-up call to employers not to take flexibility for granted.

"With 95% of workers willing to make sacrifices to help preserve jobs, the challenge for bosses is to explain the hard choices that their organisations face, and work together with staff to explore innovative solutions,” Reed added. “As pessimism about job prospects begins to lift, it is these organisations that will retain productive staff and attract skilled workers who feel exploited elsewhere.”

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