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The goals are simple: to help preserve as many jobs as possible and to help create new ones

With UK unemployment figures breaking through the two million mark for the first time since September 1997, an innovative campaign with the simple goal to keep Britain working is launched.

Keep Britain Working is a new, innovative campaign that focuses on helping keep as many people as possible in work.

“JOB #1 is to Keep Britain Working,” commented James Reed, Chairman of recruitment specialist Reed and founder of Keep Britain Working. “The goals are simple: to help preserve as many jobs as possible and to help create new ones. We will do this by encouraging companies to pool and share their best ideas on how to keep people working.”

With the spectre of more than three million people unemployed by the end of 2009, many companies are already coming up with practical ways to keep people working. KeepBritainWorking.com provides a valuable forum for harnessing individuals' creativity and innovation, sharing practical and positive solutions to help keep people in work. The ideas and actions on this site will provide additional tools for some organisations and the confidence to act for others.

The Keep Britain Working campaign is supported by all three main political parties:

• "The Keep Britain Working initiative is an important effort to prevent people becoming unemployed" - Rt Hon James Purnell MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

• "Keep Britain Working is a tremendous campaign that will bring help and support to employers from all sectors who are struggling through this recession." - Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

• "I am very pleased to support Keep Britain Working – pooling ideas to steer businesses, employees and thus the country through this recession." - Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, Leader of the Liberal Democrats

Prior to the campaign’s launch, Reed's consultants spoke to over 1,200 employers, inviting them to share their actions and suggestions to help keep Britain working. As a result, 400 ideas have already been posted onto the website and these are being supplemented by more suggestions, including those from the two million jobseekers registered on reed.co.uk who are also being polled.

Among the practical suggestions already posted onto the site are:

• Sub-contracting employees to a supplier or customer - PLF International, a medium- sized manufacturing firm, is sub-contracting two engineers from a key supplier that is not currently utilising those staff. This helps PLF manage their own workload, while supporting an important supplier.

• Operational efficiencies, flexible working and job sharing - South London Business have improved their mobile IT solutions, allowing more flexible working and job sharing. This means their staff can spend more time helping their clients to safeguard and create local jobs.

• Reduced working hours - Berco, a manufacturing firm in the North East, have reduced working hours but kept production and warehouse staff on the same salary. They have enrolled employees on NVQ courses and made a skills pledge to have all employees reach NVQ level 2 at least. In association with a local volunteer group, Berco are sending employees to work on local community projects free of charge.


We can also learn from innovative business responses to past recessions:

• Offering additional leave in exchange for pay reductions - in 2001 Hewlett-Packard offered eight days leave in return for a 10% pay cut for four months - 96% of staff accepted.

• Training non-sales people to become sales 'assistants' - in 1981 welding firm Lincoln Electric instituted a 'Leopard Program', where 68 volunteer factory workers and administrative staff were trained as assistant sales people and generated over £7m in sales.

“Employers are already coming up with innovative ways to keep people working. More companies need to share their good ideas so that as many people as possible are aware of what can be done. KeepBritainWorking.com is a place where people can submit and share practical or inspiring ideas to Keep Britain Working,” added James Reed.

- Ends -

For further press information please contact:
Adrian Linden
PR Manager
Reed Press Office
P: +44 (0)845 241 9249
M: 07919 967 865
E: press.office@reedglobal.com

Support for Keep Britain Working:

"The Keep Britain Working initiative is an important effort to prevent people becoming unemployed. We know that many employers are working hard to hold onto people through this downturn so that they will be better prepared to take advantage of the opportunities of the upturn. Helping employers to get the right advice on avoiding redundancies is really important at this time and I welcome this project."
Rt Hon James Purnell MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

"Employers, especially small and medium-sized companies, need every possible advantage in their efforts to keep people in jobs through the recession. Keep Britain Working is a tremendous campaign that will bring help and support to employers from all sectors who are struggling through this recession. Sharing the best ideas and practices that help prevent unemployment is a creative and innovative approach and I am very pleased to endorse it."
Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

"In these tough economic times, we need to do everything possible to help people who fear for their jobs and livelihoods. But we also need to encourage employers and companies to be innovative in finding ways of keeping people in jobs, while keeping afloat themselves. As such, I am very pleased to support Keep Britain Working – pooling ideas to steer businesses, employees and thus the country through this recession."
Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, Leader of the Liberal Democrats

What Reed is doing to help Keep Britain Working:

• Reed Training is going to offer two free places on all training courses to those recently unemployed

• reed.co.uk is offering free job posting on an ongoing basis to all Public Sector and Not-for-profit organisations, and had a free job posting day for all recruiters on Thursday 19th March.

• We have also introduced substantial cash discounts on our training courses and for our recruitment services, including discounts up to 50%

About Reed Specialist Recruitment
Founded in 1960, Reed is a specialist provider of permanent, contract, temporary and outsourced recruitment solutions, as well as IT and HR consulting.

Reed operates in Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific and has over 4,000 permanent employees working out of 400 offices worldwide across more than 30 specialisms.

reed.co.uk is the UK's biggest jobsite and receives over 1.5 million job applications per month. reedglobal.com enables clients around the world to interact with our recruitment services, while also enabling jobseekers globally to search for opportunities across multiple industry sectors.

Reed is passionate about the environment and has an award-winning environmental programme. Reed continues to maintain its Carbon Neutral (R) status and commitment to being Carbon Responsible.

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