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Mon, Apr 20, 2009 9:07:25
Keep Britain Working

By Claire West

Business Services workers embrace "new altruism" to save jobs, according to poll of 2,500

Workers in the Business Services sector are prepared to be flexible if it will stop their colleagues losing their jobs, according to a survey of over 2,500 people by the independent campaign Keep Britain Working.

96% of workers in Business Services would accept changes in their working conditions to help colleagues keep their jobs. 38% would accept a cut in pay and over half - 53% - would accept a reduction in hours. However, like the rest of the UK, if bosses asked for sacrifices without making any themselves 3% of Business Services workers would strike.

The poll is published in advance of Wednesday’s Budget statement, which Gordon Brown has acknowledged needs to be “a Budget for jobs”.

Across the UK 95% of workers would change their work conditions if it helped others keep their jobs, according to the survey. Half of all workers would accept short-time working, 29% would accept a pay cut without reducing hours, 31% would lose benefits, 6% would accept a 3-month unpaid sabbatical, and 19% accept a sabbatical on 30% pay. Three out of five would take on extra responsibilities, while 48% would change their role entirely if it kept their colleagues in work.

However measures need to feel fair to retain support. If bosses asked for sacrifices without making any themselves, 49% would challenge their manager, while more than one in ten would take more direct action. 3% would go slow at work, 4% would walk off the job or seek redundancy, and a further 3% would consider strike action.

What’s more in a separate poll on the campaign’s website more than two in five - 46% - said they would consider following the recent Belfast example and occupy a factory rather than accept whole scale redundancies.

James Reed, founder of the independent campaign Keep Britain Working, which has been endorsed by businesses, public sector organisations, unions and politicians across the spectrum, says:

“There seems to be a new altruism at work. If people believe that being flexible about their own employment conditions will help stem job losses they will take on change and make personal sacrifices – especially if bosses do their bit.

“Indeed people are full of innovative and effective ways to help employers cope with the downturn other than by simply cutting jobs. Over 400 ideas, practical examples and advice have already been submitted to the Keep Britain Working website since it was set up only last month, with more supporters joining all the time."

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