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Manufacturing industry steeled for industrial unrest

84% of UK manufacturers believe there will be increased industrial action in the coming months in the UK – 33% specifically predicted increased action within their sector

59% fear industrial relations issues are in danger of stifling the UK’s economic recovery

Only 50% of manufacturers believe Government should intervene to prevent strikes in the transport and communications industries – which is one of the lowest approval ratings of all sectors questioned

The manufacturing sector is braced for industrial unrest in the UK, according to research findings from law firm DLA Piper launched today In – Economics of Employee Relations – a study of over 500 UK employers who are clients of DLA Piper – including manufacturing businesses – 84% of those in the industry said they believe there will be increased industrial action in the UK over the coming months. However, relatively few felt the unrest would be driven by their sector, with only 33% predicting an increase in disputes from within manufacturing companies.

Over half those asked (54%) also claimed to be concerned that increased industrial unrest could harm the UK’s economic recovery. However, only 50% supported the idea of Government intervention to stop strikes within the transport and communications sector – one of the lowest approval ratings for such action of all sectors.

Richard May, Head of DLA Piper’s Manufacturing Sector Group, comments: "Like most industry sectors, there is a definite concern amongst manufacturers about the potential for increased industrial unrest in the UK as public sector spending cuts start to bite.

"However, for an industry that has weathered its fair share of storms over the past two years, respondents from the sector seem relatively calm about the potential for this unrest to come from within their own industry, suggesting an underlying confidence that they have addressed the worst of their own issues.

"What is particularly interesting about responses from manufacturers however, is their attitude towards Government taking action to prevent strike action in the transport industry. Considering the potential logistical impact of widespread rail or freight strikes on manufacturers ability to deliver goods or receive supplies, it is surprising to see this industry amongst the least supportive of Government action."

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