The strike: how much damage?

LightningThe economy isn't going to be helped by the public sector's strike. Different groups are offering different versions of what's going to happen as a result, with one sector claiming this is making it difficult to employ ex-public sector personnel.
The strike has been called by public sector unions such as Unison and PCS, as well as teaching unions, and is over pension cuts. Some schools are remaining open and others will close - and private sector teachers are coming out as well.


The British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) has warned that some employers may not want to employ people who have worked in the public sector.

"In a recent BCC survey nearly half (41%) of businesses said they felt very or fairly nervous about recruiting ex-public sector employees," said BCC director general David Frost in a statement.

"Many of those private sector employees affected by these strikes envy the better working terms and conditions enjoyed by those in the public sector." He goes on to call for public sector workers to recognise that we're all living longer and there's less money in the pot, so our pensions will all be hammered whether we like it or not.

Not so says CIPD

The view that someone would be nervous of employing people just because they're ex-public sector isn't shared by everyone. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development offered the following response:

"CIPD surveys suggest that a majority of members of the public will have little sympathy for strike action by public servants in defence of benefits more generous than those generally available in the public sector," says Mike Emmott, CIPD employment relations advisor.

"However most public servants will not be on strike and there is no obvious reason why the current unrest in the sector should affect their suitability to undertake jobs elsewhere."

More public sector strikes

There remains an instinct that more time is lost to strikes in the private than public sector. This appears to be true. The Office of National Statistics figures suggest the public sector strikes lose about four days to every private sector day lost.

But beware - the data is submitted voluntarily and is therefore prone to error.

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