Brexit woes for British workers
Publish date: 13 March 2019
Issue Number: 277
Diary: Legalbrief Workplace
Research has shown that just 11% of employees in the UK say their organisation has clearly communicated its Brexit plans to staff. Personnel Today reports that according to the study, Brexit: Age of Uncertainty, 33% of employees expect a freeze in pay or promotions after the UK leaves the EU, and 54% say Brexit will put extra pressure on the workforce. Furthermore, only 38% of respondents are confident their organisation will survive Brexit, and just 21% say their company is ready to make it a success. Importantly, 45% say a no-deal Brexit will have an adverse impact on their company. One quarter of workers (26%) say Brexit is a taboo topic to discuss with management while half (53%) believe they should have a say in their company’s stance towards Brexit. And 42% of UK workers want more clarity on how Brexit will impact their role.
UK firms are preparing to make job cuts amid ongoing Brexit uncertainty, People Management reports research has revealed, prompting concerns about the ‘serious’ impact this could have on the wider economy. ManpowerGroup’s latest Employment Outlook Survey found the business and financial services sector – which employs nearly a fifth of all UK workers – was most likely to be hardest hit by layoffs projected to happen in the last three months of this year. James Hick, MD of ManpowerGroup said: ‘We should be under no illusions about just how serious this is, not just for those workers directly affected, but the UK economy as a whole. UK firms are preparing to make job cuts amid ongoing Brexit uncertainty, research has revealed, prompting concerns about the “serious” impact this could have on the wider economy.’ Associate director at IHS Markit, Tim Moore, said the results were unsurprising. ‘With uncertainty in relation to Brexit outcomes a persistent feature of the political landscape so far in 2019, it’s of little surprise that February’s UK business outlook survey makes for grim reading,’ he said.
Most graduates (78%) in the UK think that Brexit will negatively affect their careers. HR Magazine reports that this is according to research by Milkround, which found a further 52% of this year’s graduate pool think it will be more difficult to secure a graduate role, similarly to the period following the 2008 financial crash. The financial crisis also in some cases obstructed 2008 graduates' entry into their desired field, with half (50%) saying they had to change their post-university plans and three-fifths (62%) taking a job in a different sector because of lack of available roles. Milkround warned that this year’s graduates are taking a similar approach to delaying their entry into the job market, with 55% planning to postpone looking for their first role.
MPs in the UK will, meanwhile, be allowed to vote on whether to adopt new EU employment legislation after Brexit, as part of a set of proposals from Prime Minister Theresa May designed to alleviate concerns over workers’ rights. People Management reports that in exchange for voting in favour of her proposed withdrawal agreement on 12 March, the Prime Minister has offered Parliament the right to consider adopting future changes in EU law on workers’ rights and workplace health and safety standards – a move that could potentially see businesses and employers maintain EU standards even after Brexit. The government has also said it would consult with trade unions and businesses on the future proposed changes to workers’ rights, and introduce a single enforcement body to protect vulnerable workers and agency staff. However, trade unions and experts have warned UK workers’ rights remain ‘under threat’ despite the changes.