LRD Booklets October 2013

Redundancy law - a guide to using the law for union reps

Introduction

Introduction

Even though the figures for quarterly redundancies have flattened since the height of the economic downturn, they remain a regular and unwelcome feature of the workplace. At least 123,000 workers lost jobs through redundancy between April and June 2013 and the government’s plans to escalate public sector outsourcing during the remainder of this parliamentary term will mean more redundancies, as well as cuts to wages and other basic terms and conditions.

This new LRD booklet, Redundancy Law, is one of a series of three LRD legal guides for union reps: Contracts of Employment was published in September 2013 and TUPE — a guide for trade unionists will be published in early 2014. These guides aim to help trade union reps secure the best deal for their members by explaining the key features of the law in a clear way.

However, these guides recognise that there is a limit to what can be achieved by reliance on legal rights, especially as they are under sustained attack by the current government. As Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC says, “our ability to win for working people ultimately depends on the strength in numbers and the power of our organisation”.

The booklet is divided into nine Chapters, covering the following issues:

• Chapter 1 looks at what is (and is not) likely to amount to a redundancy, triggering the right to a redundancy payment and to claim unfair dismissal;

• Chapter 2 contains an updated summary of the law on collective consultation and protective awards, including the landmark victory of USDAW v Woolworths (in administration) [2013] UKEAT/0547/12/KN;

• Chapter 3 focuses on redundancy selection criteria;

• Chapter 4 looks at the latest case law and guidance protecting disabled members during a redundancy;

• Chapter 5 focuses on scoring and individual consultation rights;

• Chapter 6 looks at offers of alternative work, including the special position of those on maternity, adoption and additional paternity leave;

• Chapter 7 looks at redundancy pay, including the latest guidance from the Court of Appeal on contractual redundancy pay based on custom and practice, Park Cakes Limited v Shumba [2013] EWCA Civ 934;

• Chapter 8 looks at unfair dismissal in the context of redundancy;

• Chapter 9 explains members’ statutory rights in the event of lay-off or short-time working.