June Strikes to Cause Disruption for Small Businesses
Widespread public sector strikes at the end of June could have severe financial consequences for small firms, business groups have warned.
The warning comes in the wake of business secretary Vince Cable’s plea for moderation to unions not to conduct mass strikes in the coming months.
Several unions, including the Public and Commercial Services union, which represents 250,000 civil servants, are considering co-ordinated strike action in protest at Government cuts, public sector wage freezes and pension reforms.
Unless the Government reaches an agreement with the Trades Union Congress (TUC), the strike looks set to go ahead on 30 June. The number of participants could reach 750,000.
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said the knock-on effect of an early summer strike could be disastrous for businesses.
“In the current climate, industrial action would have a significant impact on confidence and inward investment, which are both critical to the UK’s economic recovery.”
said BCC director of policy, Adam Marshall.
Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) spokesman, Andrew Cave, added that chaos caused by disruption to transport, services and school closures would mean many small firms would be unable to operate normally, potentially losing thousands of pounds.
“If firms can’t make deliveries to customers or staff can’t get into work because of a mass strike, then industrial action will prove counter-productive for the economy.”
However, the TUC said that the impact on business would be “limited”.
“As it’s only a one day strike, the biggest effect would probably be people not being able to get to work on time.”
said a TUC spokesman.
“It will certainly be nothing like the two week strikes we saw in the 1970s.”
Results from the union strike ballots are expected to be returned on 14 th June.