Insights from the UK and beyond
Would you take a pay cut?
In the latest example, three unions representing steelworkers at Corus have offered to take a 10 percent cut across the company’s entire UK workforce of 25,000 for six months in an attempt to save one of the last remaining steel factories in Britain — the plant at Llanwern in Newport, South Wales.
The steelmaking part of Llanwern was shut in 2001 with 1,300 redundancies but the site still makes steel sheets and employs more than 1,000 people.
India’s Tata Group, which bought the Anglo-Dutch company last year, has said it wants to cut costs by 350 million pounds in both the UK and the Netherlands as it cuts production by 30 percent.
Other possible solutions include cutting employees’ working hours. Corus in the Netherlands, for example, is asking 6,400 workers to each work one day less perweek for six weeks — the equivalent of cutting 1,100 full-time jobs.
In another example, engineering firm JCB has managed to limit job losses after the GMB union agreed to accept a shorter and lower-paid working week
As the downturn bites and announcements of huge job losses become a daily event, do you think such solutions are the answer. Would you take a pay cut? Or is there an element here of employers using the dire economic situation to extract unfair concessions from their workforces?