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'Engage staff to quell strikes'

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As industrial action increases, employers must improve employee engagement to improve relations, says the CIPD.

A CIPD survey found that one-quarter of unionised organisations have been affected by strike action in the last year and almost one-third are expecting future industrial action.

Almost a half (49%) of public sector respondents have had strikes in their organisations in the last year and 51% are expecting future strikes compared to 12% of private sector companies who have had strikes and 28% who foresee them in the next year.

Three-quarters of employers believe engaging employees with the business is the most likely route they will take to deal with the problem.

The main reason for strikes has been pay, with eight out of 10 employers citing this as the main strike issue. Ninety percent think pay will be a catalyst for strikes over the next 12 months. However 60% think media attention has exaggerated the levels of employee unrest.

Jackie Orme, CIPD chief executive, said: "The reality of the modern workplace is that employers are far better at engaging an motivating their workforce.

"Against this backdrop [of unrest], it is easy to see why so many organisations are investing more time and energy in arrangements for informing and consulting all employees, not just unions."