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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 45351
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Redundancy but union involvement mentioned

Customer Question

redundancy but union involvement mentioned
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 months ago.

Please can you tell me more about the situation so that I can advise. Thank you

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
hi ben its jane from Oxfam!
I'm being made redundant this sept 29th. but although that was enough of a shock and I am being asked for a 'counter proposal' as to why the shop shouldn't shut, I know from my union involvement that NO shop is kept open..is this not a 'sham' consultation? also my line manager has documented that 'shop manager is very militant and member of union' and 'will tightly manage to see if she is the issue'?
so is this failure to properly consult and obviously against the law to discriminate against my union involvement?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 months ago.

Hi Jane. How long have you worked there for please?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
10 years last feb
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 months ago.

OK thank you, ***** ***** it with me. I am in court today so will prepare my advice during the day and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Thank you.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
ok thanks Ben
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 months ago.

No problem at all.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 months ago.

Hi Jane, I wouldn't call it a sham consultation as such, whether a decision has been made to shut the shop or not, you still have the right to be consulted and air your views. Whilst in many circumstances a consultation may not change the outcome, it must still be adopted by the employer because it is part of the fairness requirement in a redundancy exercise.

In terms of the union issue, you have to consider whether that actually amounts to some sort of detrimental treatment because of your membership. As far as I can see this is a comment made by the line manager, but is it the reason you are selected for redundancy? Had you been selected for redundancy or your shop been selected for closure because of your union activities then that is a different matter but if you were going to be shut down anyway and these were just comments that had no relevance to the outcome, then it would not amount to discrimination because of union activities.

I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 45351
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
thanks Ben - I'm struggling with the so called fair process as it amounts to pretending that you might have the chance to change the outcome? isn't that unfair? why put already upset and stressed employees thru this just so the employer can say they consulted? wouldn't it be fairer to start from the 'write a proposal to keep shop open' before the proposal for closure?
also even though my shop was taking enough money to be viable it would seem that my manager had/has decided because of my union activities that is a good enough reason to not fight to keep shop open as I have been challenging the business model and she wants no dissent
but surely if it was to be made public or to the senior management that Oxfam were seemingly anti-union then that wouldn't look good for them?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 months ago.

The employer should go in with an open mind but that does not mean that they have to change their position - often there is not much that can be done and redundancies will be required one way or another. It is also not just a process to discuss how to avoid the redundancies in terms of structure and business needs, rather to discuss if there are any suitable alternative positions as well to try and keep you working for them.

As to the union issue, workers have the right not to be subjected to any detriment by any act, or deliberate failure to act, by their employers which has the sole or main purpose of preventing or deterring them from taking part in trade union activities, or penalising them for doing so (section 146(1), Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992). So this would be the only potential avenue you can pursue in this relation, but obviously it would need to be taken to court to be challenged.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
hi thanks for that - you say the employer should go in with an open mind? but surely if they have made the decision then to ask you to counter their decision is disingenuous? and if not one shop has ever been kept open after a counter proposal has been made then that must be seen as not a sincere or honest discussion?
also it says on my terms and conditions that 'if significant overtime is worked on a regular basis beyond the reasonable expectation inherent in Oxfam GB's philosophy, there should be a review of workload and staffing'
well, as you know as a part time manager trying to run the shop with volunteers then I have worked in the last 10 years thousands of hours overtime! do I get to give them a grievance about this?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 months ago.

Well there is nothing specific in law that says they should go in with an open mind, and this is a ‘should’ rather than a ‘must’. But as mentioned often however open minded they may be, there is simply nothing that can be done to avoid redundancies. So a consultation is not just to try and find ways of not having to go through the redundancy exercise, rather to discuss the reasons for it and also look for suitable alternative employment – so there are other reasons for it. There is of course nothing stopping you from raising the overtime issue with them but that alone will not necessarily change the position in terms of a decision to make redundancies.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
thanks - I'm not trying to get them to change their mind re my redundancy as I think ive given them enough of me and my goodwill for the last 10 years - I'm just frustrated and angry at their 'process' - if I think it would give them a hard time I will be raising it in grievance as well as my anti union treatment and the overtime..just want to give them a hard time as ive been left out to dry with no support apart from 'get more volunteer's' mantra - I like fairness and I feel very unfairly treated.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 months ago.

Oh of course if you want to give them a hard time in the process then by all means do. use the consultation process to raise any issues and also raise a grievance if needed. Once the decision has been communicated in relation to the grievance - appeal it. Also you should appeal the redundancy decision once formally confirmed. This would give them plenty to deal with

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
thanks ben looks like my line manager and HR are going to be very busy...
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 months ago.

looks like you will enjoy it too :)

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
of course! but just to be sure do you think 'cos they've put that about overtime in my terms and conditions then I can raise it and have some substance to back my claim?
btw our CEO was trumpeting that nearly 80% of managers got to take their holiday last year! hardly something to be proud about when I bet you don't have to move heaven and earth to get your two weeks in the Maldives..
I'm going to be submitting a grievance that says I havnt been properly supported using the H&S work act and that as a life long migraine sufferer (they know) ive never had an assessment - obviously the union stuff (and unite should be as well) and overtime! should I make it one grievance with 4 topics or 4 separate grievances within my grievance?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 months ago.

yes certainly if it is in your terms and what it tries to cover has happened you may raise it with them. All these years of this happening will be important and will support a potential argument over this

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
when you say argument?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 months ago.

Referring to substance to back up a claim

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
ok thanks as usual..will try to let you know how it goes..
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 months ago.

Thanks good luck

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