Headlines: June 1st, 2009

One in five public sector workers have had their pay cut since the recession began according to figures released today. The Keep Britain Working campaign has surveyed more than 1,600 workers and says 21 per cent have taken a drop in pay and more than a quarter have seen their hours reduced.

The survey also shows 14 per cent of public sector staff have lost benefits but says that the figures are the lowest in all sectors across the UK. Overall more than half of workers have experienced a cut in pay, a reduction in hours or a loss of benefits during the recession.

The survey follows the decision of workers at Honda to take less pay in an effort to avoid redundancies and Keep Britain Working says this shows how flexible the British workforce has been and how changing working terms has helped organisations avoid more job cuts.

In the last nine months 27 per cent of the UK workforce as a whole have faced pay cuts, 24 per cent are working fewer hours and the same proportion have lost benefits. More than a tenth of the workforce has experienced two of these factors and five per cent have been affected by all three. The survey also found that recessionary pressure was having a negative impact on job security with more than half of workers saying they are more pessimistic about their prospects this month than they were last month.

James Reed, who founded the Keep Britain Working Campaign, is calling for people to add their ideas to its website. “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,” he said.