Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Prepare now before strike hits

Shropshire employers must brace themselves for the looming threat of strike action by petrol tanker delivery drivers.

John Mehtam, our employment law specialist, said any potential strike could mean employees would struggle to get to work if they ran out of fuel. But he warned that dealing with this kind of absence was not an easy situation, and there were no simple solutions.

"Everything will depend on the terms and conditions that have been set out in your employees' contracts. You can only legitimately stop their wages for any unauthorised absence, so you'll need to consider carefully whether staying away from the workplace because of a fuel shortage is actually unauthorised.

"Maybe you could agree for the employee to take the time off as paid holiday, or allow them to make up the time in the future. Or if possible, you could give them permission to work from home until the strike is resolved and they are able to find more fuel for their vehicle."

John said asking staff to use holiday entitlement would again only be allowable if it was set out in the specific terms of the contract.

"As the petrol strike would be an event beyond the employees' control, you should be careful not to treat your staff too harshly. If you are too heavy-handed, it could be seen as a breach of trust and confidence, which would give your employee an opportunity to resign and claim constructive dismissal.

"It's vital that employers stick to recognised policies and procedures, and you may want to inform your staff of how you'll deal with any potential disruption before it happens - that way everyone will be clear on where they stand."

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Tough-talking expert in Telford

One of the UK's toughest talking commercial barristers will be sharing his knowledge with businesses from across Telford thanks to Martin-Kaye LLP Solicitors.

Mohammed Zaman QC is renowned for his intimidating cross examination skills and he will be giving a presentation at our offices at The Foundry, in Euston Way, on April 26, from 8am to 9.30am.

Our senior partner, Graham Davies, said: "We are very pleased to be working with such a high profile guest speaker who is one of the UK's leading commercial 'silks', and who has been described as an exceptional advocate.

"Our topic will be The Techniques of Persuasion, which will help businesses learn how to resolve disputes with effective negotiating skills. In the current business climate, disputes almost seem inevitable - whether it's contracts, price, quality or performance, there are all kinds of flashpoints which can cause trouble.

"But our seminar will help to explain that a dispute does not have to lead to expensive litigation. Knowing the alternatives and using the right techniques can put business owners at a distinct advantage if a dispute does occur.

"Mohammed is well-known for his mediation skills and his presentation will deliver top tips on how to get ahead in negotiations, all presented in an entertaining and humorous style."

Places at the seminar will be strictly limited - so to reserve your place contact June Noto by emailing or call 01952 525951