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Will more UK companies ask employees to work for no pay?

As British Airways continues negotiations with its 40,000 strong workforce, regarding the possibility of working up to one month with no pay, there are concerns amongst unions that other companies will try to follow a similar route. Even though the UK economy is said to be moving out of recession there will still be a significant period of consolidation and stabilisation across the board. Companies will not always follow the same route to recovery and we will almost certainly see a number of casualties as and when UK banks decide to pull the plug.

Whether working for free sets a precedent which is difficult to fight in the future is open to debate but ultimately once this particular back has been broken it would be easy for companies to revisit time and time again. The true fact is that many employees already do extra work for which they do not receive pay as many of them feel concerned enough at the prospect of redundancy to stay quiet when asked to do more work for little or no pay.

There is a feeling amongst unions that many UK workers are already being exploited in these difficult times and putting this on a legal footing is something of a double-edged sword.

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