It is no wonder that the content of our last few posts has all been about the ever-changing world and the “never normal”. The continuing chaos politically, economically, internationally, and from public health perspective are having a continuing impact on all levels of society that hasn't been seen in recent times.
Time will tell whether Rishi Sunak’s new leadership can do anything to address some of these issues in the UK. Whatever occurs in the Autumn financial statement (fundamentally, the budget) there is no doubt in the coming weeks that the ongoing economic crisis will mean a tightening of public purse strings. With financial pressures from energy prices, also on private business, being added to inflationary anxieties on workers, there is a feeling that perhaps we could be drifting toward another “winter of discontent”.
We have already seen, and expect further, strikes on the railways with industrial action from the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF), the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT), and the Transport Salaried Staff Association (TSSA) unions. The Communication Workers Union (CWU) have instigated strikes within the postal service and there have been warnings to brace for a synchronised wave of walkouts across many industries. There are strike ballots planned this autumn, with a view for disruption this winter, for nurses, health workers, ambulance workers, and civil servants to name a few. The National Association of Head Teachers are examining possibilities of action in a row over pay and funding, a first in 125 years. And, significantly for many, thousands of pubs across London and the South East are in danger of running out of beer as drivers supplying major brewers are set to go on strike.
Whether you agree or disagree with the reasons for action, and whether or not you work in these industries, there may be knock-on effects from them.
Employers and employees alike want to know what to do if there are transport strikes, and what the implications and responsibilities to their businesses and workers may be.
You may have to deal with transport disruption by having a policy to explain the effort you expect employees to make to get into work on time and whether there is an effect on their pay. This may be managed by allowing a degree of flexibility e.g., if practicable, allowing employees to arrive late and/or leave early, perhaps with the time made up on another day. It may be, as we saw to a great extent in the pandemic, that employees who can do so productively are allowed to work from home.
However imprudent, there is no legal requirement to pay an employee who cannot get to work, and normal non-attendance policies can apply, but a common sense approach may be more reasonable, however this must be consistently and fairly applied to avoid discrimination. This could still mean different treatment for different people, for instance, it may be more difficult for those with children or disabilities to change arrival times or travel by alternative methods.
So, how do we prepare for the unpreparable?
As many legal hoops must be jumped through before any disruption through strike action may take place, it is usually quite predictable. However, other disruptions, whether caused by weather, direct action or traffic may require more agile shorter notice adaptations.
We help you manage both these short and longer notice changes well, which will enable you to meet key operational and service delivery requirements as best you can in the circumstances, making the most out of the people you have available.
Crown offers a full range of best-of-breed Workforce Management tools to support the planning, management and monitoring of all workforce activity, providing clear visibility across all employees’ contracts, shift arrangements and activity so that you can keep track of any different contractual commitments and make sure your operatives get paid accurately for the work they do, in line with any business rules in place. As a result, in both normal everyday working and the “never-normal” managers can reduce administrative burdens, optimise workforce activity/spend and achieve real productivity gains.
Our workforce management system helps you to manage your people more intelligently and efficiently.