Britain’s biggest consultant Atkins wants some of its staff to work longer hours for the same money, it emerged this week.
The firm has started consulting staff in its highways and transportation division about increasing their standard working week from 37.5 hours to 40 hours.
“We have started a consultation in our highways and transportation business over a small increase in working hours, which will allow us to deliver greater efficiencies for our clients as they experience pressure on their budgets,” said a spokesman.
“Atkins has become adept at responding to clients in the public and private sectors while they navigate the economic downturn. We have continued to meet their needs by focusing on providing the best technical solutions and by continuing to flex our resources.”
The move to create a longer working week is the latest measure to be adopted by the firm in a bid to remain profitable despite tough trading conditions in the UK. The firm has already made more than 1,000 redundancies since September 2009.
Last November the firm said it had cut jobs in a bid to maintain profits (NCE 25 November 2010). It made a pretax profit of £41.7M in the six months to the end of September, but this came at the expense of 906 jobs across its divisions between October 2009 and September 2010.
Staff numbers fell from 16,235 on 30 September 2009 to 15,329 on 30 September 2010. In October the firm made a further 100 redundancies at its new US acquisition PBSJ.