Some 27% of distribution workers have had their pay cut since the recession began. One in four (27%) have experienced a reduction in hours and one in three (33%) have lost benefits, the highest in the UK, according to a survey of over 1,600 workers by the Keep Britain Working campaign (keepbritainworking.com). Overall, more than half of all UK workers (54%) have experienced a cut in pay, a reduction in hours or a loss of benefits since the recession began.
These figures follow the decision Honda workers made last week to accept pay cuts of 3% to avoid redundancies. This demonstrates just how flexible the British workforce as a whole has been and how changing working terms has helped organisations avoid even greater job cuts.
Over the last nine months 27% of UK workers have had their pay cut, 24% have had their hours reduced and 24% have lost benefits, according to the survey. While 37% of UK workers have experienced just one of these changes, 12% have experienced two of them and 5% have experienced all three.
What's more, two in five workers (40%) have been given extra responsibilities, while one in five - 20% - have had the nature of their role change, within the same organisation. Interestingly 2% have been offered a semi-paid sabbatical, while 6% have been offered an unpaid sabbatical since the recession began.
Nevertheless recessionary pressures continue to impact negatively on job security throughout the country. More than half of all UK adults of working age are more pessimistic about job prospects this month than they were last month, according to the Keep Britain Working survey.
Overall 54% said they were more pessimistic about job prospects this month than last while 17% were more optimistic, giving a Job Optimism Index Score of minus 37.
James Reed, founder of the independent Keep Britain Working Campaign, called for people to add their ideas on keepbritainworking.com. He commented:
"The UK workforce has demonstrated unprecedented flexibility during this recession, allowing organisations to explore a whole range of cost-cutting responses other than relying solely on redundancies. British workers are increasingly pessimistic about job prospects in the immediate future, but - and in contrast to parts of Continental Europe - overall workers appear to be making common cause with their managers to help keep people working."