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Will 2023 bring an end to strikes and workplace unrest?

Workers’ rights is a topic that graces the pages of HR magazine often. Of course, they will always be paramount to the business leaders who flick through our pages, but on top of that, there’s a genuine level of jeopardy in the air at the moment for employees.

Let’s take just one example of many: the sad state of affairs over at Twitter. Since its takeover from the unpredictable and quite frankly irresponsible Elon Musk, the richest man in the world, its employees have been fired, re-hired and forced to choose between long working hours or unemployment.

More from the issue:

Hot topic: Do you need to fire staff to take a business in a new direction?

HR needs to prepare for further sackings in 2023

These workers are not just numbers on a payroll but instead real people, who have put time and effort into making their organisation a success. To treat them as nothing other than commodities is of grave concern, particularly when we equate Musk with such power and influence.

It is not just Twitter where things have gone stale. In last 12 months, we have witnessed strikes at an unprecedented level. Our railways, legal courts, hospitals and classrooms have all been shut down as workers fight for better pay, pension and sickness allowance.

Our cover story for November/December 2022 therefore explores where this growing employee discontent is coming from, how HR can best mitigate against it and the new ways employees are beginning to organise.

It is becoming harder to make a decent living. Lots of workers are experiencing real-term pay cuts due to inflation, are worried about their job security throughout the recession and are still non-the-wiser what the post-Brexit legal landscape means for many workplace protections.

So, will we see a continuation of workers downing tools and picking up placards to fight for better rights? In such an uncertain and somewhat bleak landscape, who can blame them?

Jo Gallacher is editor at HR magazine


The full article of the above first appeared in the November/December 2022 print issue. Subscribe today to have all our latest articles delivered right to your desk.