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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Tesco announced that they were going to have to make some

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Tesco announced that they were going to have to make some organisational changes within the business. This will result in circa 25% of roles not existing post the changes (please see the comms sent out to the company below). They are not offering employees the option to apply for voluntary redundancy, in order to minimise the compulsory redundancies. My question has a 2 parts. Firstly is there any current legal requirements under UK and EU law employment law to at least offer employees the opportunity to apply for voluntary redundancy (not guarantee they get it), even though the last time they had organisational changes they gave this option. Secondly, has a company’s refusal to offer voluntary redundancy ever been challenged as a breach of the ECHR?
“Dear colleagues,
Thank you for taking the time to join this morning’s turnaround update. This note summarises the key points that I talked you through and is designed to help you and your teams navigate the coming weeks.
As I explained, since January 2015 we have made good progress in transforming our business. We have made extensive changes to simplify our structures and processes in our stores, distribution centres and other areas of our business. Most recently we have announced changes to simplify our UK Customer Engagement Centres (CEC) with the proposed closure of our CEC in Cardiff. The impact on our colleagues has been significant but we have always tried to manage this in an open, transparent and fair way and we will continue to do so as we continue our turnaround.
Despite this progress our turnaround is not complete and there’s still more we need to do. Against a backdrop of political and economic uncertainty, the retail environment today is tougher than it has been for many years. The way that people shop is continuing to change; we’re seeing cost pressure in our business; and the industry is getting increasingly competitive. The changes we have made so far have allowed us to invest in our offer and be more competitive but we now need to maintain this.
Our own assessment tells us that our organisation is still too complex, that we run with a high degree of duplication and that this slows us down, many of you will have experienced this yourselves. We know too that our absolute cost level is still too high. To address this we have been working on a new Service Model which simplifies our business significantly. The details of this will be shared over the coming weeks.
This is a critical distinction. As we map out our current ways of working against our new Service Model, the impact on role reduction will be different across all areas of the business. We are resetting our business rather than a uniform cost reduction with the overall impact expected to be c. 25% of roles not existing post September.
I understand that there will be uncertainty following today’s news, but my commitment is that we will talk to all our colleagues first about things that affect them, and make changes in a fair, transparent and open way. We will continue to communicate and offer support to all colleagues over the coming weeks.
There will of course be some difficult weeks ahead, but the changes we are making are essential to ensure we remain competitive, and can continue our turnaround for the future.
Thank you.
Dave”
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 month ago.

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

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 month ago.

There is nothing in law which states an employer must offer VRs before considering compulsory redundancies. This is an option open to the employer but it is entirely discretionary. Some employers choose to use it if they know there are staff who are interested and who they won’t mind losing, but others opt against it as those who may put themselves forward either have the experience the employer wants to retain, they may cost to much to make redundant if they all left or simply they want to have a level playing field and go down the traditional selection route. Whatever the reasons it is for the employer to choose which option to apply.

In terms of ECHR this has nothing to do with it unfortunately, this is not a human rights issue so there won’t have been any case on on this point as it would be a flawed challenge to argue it as a human rights matter.

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Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 month ago.

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Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 month ago.

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