SMEs: Allow Flexible Working Ahead of New Tube Strikes

Businesses should allow staff to work flexibly to minimise the disruption caused by the ongoing London tube strikes, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has said.

Further strikes are expected in October, as disputes between tube staff and London Underground continue. Maintenance and engineering staff walked out for 24 hours on 6th September – resulting in disruption to tube services until 8th September. The next strike is scheduled for 3rd October.

CIPD employee relations adviser, Ben Wilmott, said that small businesses should offer their staff flexibility during the strikes.

"Some employees might just need to allow more time for their commute, but others will have difficulty getting to work at all," he said. "It’s in the employer’s interest to look at what flexibility they might allow – for example, letting employees work from home."

"Unless it’s written in the contract or policy that employers will pay staff when they are unable to get to work, they are not obliged to, but it can boost engagement and morale if they do," added Wilmott.

According to the London Chamber of Commerce (LCC), each day of the strike will cost the London economy £48 million.

"In some sectors, staff may be able to work from home, but in others this may not be practical and businesses could lose out on productivity and sales,"

said LCC spokesman, Andrew Horne.

"One small business owner I know had to cancel plans to go to a conference they’d paid for. In some situations businesses will lose money that they can’t recover, but others will just be delayed, so a deal that might have been done today will happen tomorrow.

"However, more employers are likely to already have contingency plans in place due to coping with similar strikes."

For further business advice articles on the subject see The Law on Flexible Working.

SMEs: Allow Flexible Working Ahead of New Tube Strikes

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