Against a backdrop of constant technological changes & offshoring, combined with the continuous and sometimes capricious identification by IT, Communications & Digital service providers of potential cost savings, most of us in the industry will find ourselves at risk of redundancy at some point during our careers.
Redundancy Law in the UK is actually made up of two different statutory rights:
- The right to a Redundancy Payment
- The right to be consulted by your employer about redundancy dismissals they propose to make before they are carried out.
Depending on the circumstances, it is possible for either, both or none of these rights to apply. The latter (also known as a Section 188 notice) can even apply in circumstances where there is no reduction in the number of roles (known as dismissal and re-engagement on new contractual terms)
Among some most common questions people facing redundancy have are:
- Does my employer need to consult?
- Am I entitled to a Redundancy Payment?
- Do I get a trial period if I’m redeployed?
- Why is my employer asking me to sign a settlement agreement?
Unite members have access to the right support to answer all of those questions.
In all cases, we recommend that members:
- Contact Unite for advice at the earliest opportunity if your employer notifies you there could be redundancies or that it wants to make significant changes to your terms and conditions. (You should do this even if your employer has told you that consultation is not required or that people are not being made redundant as Unite may have a different view!)
- Volunteer or nominate yourself/stand for election to be an employee consultation representative where no union is recognised (we strongly advise this). The consultation process is extremely important for the purposes of:
- Potentially reducing or avoiding the need to dismiss employees.
- Ensuring the process is handled fairly and transparently.
- Ensuring that any selection criteria used is as objective as possible.
It’s much more effective and easier for Unite to support you performing an employee representative role than trying to assist you as an individual member after the consultation has finished, by which time some well meaning but in-experienced employee representative has potentially agreed to things they shouldn’t have.
- Keep your own records of contracts of employment, changes to terms and conditions, Bonus scheme rules, Redundancy Policies, etc. Having your own copies of these can be vital if you find yourself at risk of Redundancy and potentially disputing how much redundancy pay, notice period or trial period in a new role you are entitled to. Don’t rely on HR to keep copies for you!
The London Digital & Tech branch subscribes to the Labour Research Department who produce a very useful legal guide called “The Law at Work”. This includes a chapter on Redundancy written in plain English. Its accessible online by all branch members, If you are affected by Redundancy, we strongly recommend you read it.