The human touch

HR, employment law and your workplace

Don’t pay the price of poor industrial relations

by Jeff Neild, National Head of Employment and Industrial Relations 14. November 2011 09:49

The biggest employee relations challenge for most manufacturers right now is pay and it will continue to be so as we move into 2012. With inflation currently running at over 5%, employees and unions alike are looking for substantial pay rises in order to offset the increased cost of living. Some trade unions are even suggesting that a 3% pay rise is effectively a pay cut!

This challenge is closely followed by pensions. Proposed changes to public sector pensions remains in the news with potentially the biggest UK strike for 30 years due to be held on November 30th 2011. Many manufacturers face similar challenges to the public sector; they still run finally salary schemes which they may well be looking to review and potentially change in an attempt to reduce costs and liabilities.

With a fragile economic climate and shrinking order books, cost reduction will be king in 2012 with many manufactures re-visiting measures such as short-term working arrangements and pay cuts. Whilst the unions may have been accommodating in 2008 to protect the jobs of their members, this time around, they might not be so willing which could see more and more industrial action taking place.

It is in this context that effectively managing and negotiating change becomes vital, whether a unionised site or not. So we are running a series of seminars to help manufacturers manage and negotiate their way through change. If you’re going through pay negotiations or looking to reduce costs and implement changes to terms and conditions, this must-attend event will help you successfully plan and implement change within your business.

As we move in to what looks to be a challenging year ahead, how will you deal with change?

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This blog is written by experts from the HR & Legal team at EEF. We help manufacturing businesses evolve and compete.  We provide them with business services that make them more efficient and management intelligence that helps them plan.  Our work with government encourages policies that make it easy for them to operate, innovate and grow.

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