Signs of continuing fragility in the local labour market have arisen this week as three businesses have announced new rounds of redundancies to affect employees in the North West. A couple of weeks ago it came to light that Blackburn based Thwaites brewery is to make 25 employees redundant. This was followed last week by an announcement from Trinity Mirror Group that they are to make 27 redundancies at the Manchester Evening News as part of a restructure, with a further 11 positions being lost at other titles in Liverpool, Chester and North Wales. Several jobs are also at risk following an announcement by St Mary's college in Blackburn that they are to make £700,000 savings in staff costs over coming months.
On a National basis, today sees a walk-out of journalists at the BBC in protest of forthcoming compulsory redundancies. The National Union of Journalists claim that a further 2000 jobs are set to be axed at the BBC, with experienced journalist roles being amongst those to be cut.
When faced with redundancy, in the first instance you should obtain accurate information regarding your entitlements to notice pay, statutory redundancy pay and other monetary entitlements.
All of this of course comes against the backdrop of large scale job losses following the collapse of high street companies such as Blockbuster and HMV.
It is also important that you are aware of the difference between formal and informal (or "off the record") meetings and the implications of both. If you are called to a meeting, you should clarify this in advance of the meeting going ahead.
Being faced with redundancy, particularly when in a senior position, can be an extremely daunting prospect. It is important to know that when faced with redundancy, you do have certain legal rights. There are also set processes that any employer must follow. These include the processes of selection and consultation, which must follow certain timescales and procedures to be legal. If you are in any doubt that your employer (or previous employer) followed employment law in this respect, you should seek advice from an employment lawyer straight away. The law in respect of redundancy is complex and subject to change but where correct procedure has not been followed, there may be grounds to make a claim for unfair dismissal.
If you suspect that your job may be at risk, it is advisable that you seek legal advice about redundancy from a specialist employment solicitor at an early stage.
Furthermore, compromise agreements are one way that employers may look to cut jobs without going through the lengthy redundancy process. Under employment law, employees must seek legal advice on compromise agreements, usually funded by the employer. If you require advice of this nature, do not hesitate to contact us.
By Victoria Mitchell, Employment Lawyer in Lancashire