Unions 'expect weakening economy'


Most workplace office reps fear job losses, survey found

Union officials are pessimistic about the prospects for the economy this year, with most fearing job losses and below-inflation pay rises, according to a study.

A survey of almost 200 workplace reps showed that most believed the economy would be weaker in 2011, with those in the public sector most fearful.

Only a minority of those questioned by the Labour Research Department (LRD) believed workers would receive a pay rise in line with inflation this year, with a handful expecting wages to be frozen or even cut.

Three out of five workplace union officials said they expected jobs to be cut, especially in the public sector which is facing reduced Government funding.

Pay deals monitored by the research group showed average rises of around 2.6%, more than 2% below RPI inflation.

LRD researcher Lewis Emery said: “Pay rises will need to move considerably beyond the current mid-point if employees’ spending power is to be maintained.

“Coupled with widespread fears of job cuts even in the more buoyant sectors of the economy, these findings suggest that the coalition cannot expect an easy route out of the economic doldrums.”

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