Industrial action

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Good morning, welcome to our Horizon Scanning newsletter and Happy New Year!

The return to work this January comes with unprecedented levels of industrial action. In today’s bulletin, we look at the contingencies that companies can put in place in 2023 so that strikes do not erode business resilience. Our Monday Toolbox delves deeper into the question of how you do this.

Thanks for reading and stay safe.

Industrial action

Image is taken from original source

Was your business affected by the industrial action over Christmas and the New Year? With transport and postal sectors on strike, along with several others, Reuters report that one in eight UK firms have been adversely affected. The chart below, taken from ONS data underpinning their piece, reveals that hospitality and wholesale industries have been at the sharp end. (This article goes into more detail on why).

Number one question for your business: 

What impact has the strike action had on your business?


Below are some of the analyses and suggestions we have found so far, for managing the business risks of industrial action.

  • This BBC page provides a regularly updated calendar of strikes (pictured below, as of last week), as well as information on how close each dispute is to resolution. It is worth your organisation monitoring, in one place, this sort of information, so that you have a grid of which strikes are pending, and can form a plan to manage their impact.
  • This piece by Computer Weekly has some interesting advice on the cyber impacts of industrial action. They have three key pieces of guidance: do not get complacent (about malware attacks, which heighten during chaos); do not leave employees stranded; and show clients you are still up and running. The second point, about staff, is especially important. If your team are all back in the office then this may be a good test of how strong your remote working capacity is.
  • Lastly, this BCI article assesses the risks posed by postal strikes and what businesses can do to mitigate them. A big focus is on supply chains. David Window, Director at Continuity Shop, is interviewed for the piece, and sets out three issues to focus on here: an audit of priority suppliers (including contingencies), a closer relationship with procurement professionals, and a detailed overview of all your business’s Service Level Agreements. Supply chains are an area where Horizonscan has done a lot of work in the past, and one which we have written about in this newsletter before. A period of sustained industrial action could place them under unprecedented strain.

Thought for the week:

 “With strikes becoming more common, businesses need to prepare for the impact these events might have. Relying on one travel route or postal services is not currently a safe bet. Businesses must have contingencies across all areas of the organisation.”