Wednesday, 19 July 2006

Redundancies on the rise

A Telford solicitor has warned that more and more companies are facing the dilemma of staff redundancies.

John Mehtam, the Employment Law specialist, at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Euston Way, Telford, said the past six months had seen a dramatic increase in the number of workers being laid off.

“Even this week, there have been two major announcements in Telford, with almost 500 civil servants losing their jobs at the Defence Logistics Organisation in Sapphire House, and over 100 jobs going at British Sugar in Allscott.

“And these decisions echo the worrying trend we have seen in other local companies, particularly in the manufacturing sector where redundancies are becoming much more common.”

John said employers facing tough decisions must take care though, as there were a number of pitfalls they could encounter, which could lead to costly tribunal claims.

“Any companies currently considering redundancies, restructuring or down-sizing their operation must ensure they consult their staff fully at every step in the process.

“It’s also important to use a fair selection policy when it comes to choosing who will lose their job - consider a last in, first out policy, or assess each candidate against a series of requirements and award them points for their relevant skills.

“You should also consider all the alternatives before you decide to announce redundancies. Maybe you could reduce staff hours, redeploy a number of employees, or even introduce temporary lay-offs.

“But if you really do have no other option, make sure you follow the strict statutory dismissal rules, and keep a detailed paper trail of all your actions.

“Take legal advice at the earliest opportunity, and this should help you to avoid the dangers during what is always an extremely stressful time for both employees and employers.”