Nearly half the UK workforce thinks their employer is using the recession as an excuse to cut costs, new research suggests. Some 48% of employers believe their organisation is actively exploiting the downturn by imposing unnecessary pay cuts, reduced hours and even redundancies, the poll by the Keep Britain Working campaign found. However, 52% of those polled said they felt positive about the way their employers were handling the recession. Nearly a quarter even said their bosses were doing everything possible to support staff. James Reed, founder of the Keep Britain Working campaign, said: “The unprecedented flexibility of the UK workforce, underpinned by positive relationships between staff and bosses, has saved jobs and prevented the unemployment figures from rising even faster.

“However, our finding that some UK workers feel exploited is a wake-up call to employers not to take flexibility for granted.” The research also revealed that 95% of workers were willing to make sacrifices in order to preserve jobs. Reed said the challenge for bosses was to explain the hard choices organisations are facing and work together with staff to explore solutions.

He added: “As pessimism about job prospects begins to lift, it is these organisations that will retain productive staff, and attract skilled workers who feel exploited elsewhere.”

© Crimson Business Ltd. 2009