Manager's Guide to Staff and Union Redundancy Consultation
Consultation with TUs:
1. Timescales as for DTI notification ie. In good time and at least
a. 90 days if 100+ redundancies in University at the time…
b. 30 days for 20-99 redundancies in University at the time…
c. None if <20 redundancies in University at the time…
d. … before the first of the dismissals takes effect ie. "Taking effect" is point when the decision to make someone redundant is finally communicated (ie when notice is served) and not the date of actual termination of employment.
2. Must begin as soon as reasonably practicable and well before the final decision to dismiss those identified for redundancy (see 4).
3. UK = Hence consult when there are proposals to make (ie. Once a management decision has been taken), as distinct from a plan which may result in redundancies (ie. Proposal = less than a firm decision, but more than a possibility ie. An intention or contingency). Where proposals consider redundancy as one of a number of options, or as a last resort should other alternatives fail, the consultation is triggered. A funding decision by an external body will trigger the consultation requirement too.
4. But EC = consult at earlier "contemplation" stage & applies to public sector emanations of the state, thus normally to universities. Contemplation means consultation at a relatively early formative stage in the decision process ie. As soon as a draft plan or working proposal emerges, and whilst they are at a formative stage, thus well before a firm decision or proposal has been finalised. But it means more than merely wondering whether or not redundancies might be necessary. Therefore, the point of first contemplation usually arises when the university first envisages the possibility that it might have to make staff redundant, at least as a contingency. At that time it should be able to specify the numbers of potential redundancies, the period (30 or 90 days) and the establishment affected.
5. Junk case => effectively forbids old process of running the consultation process in parallel with issuing and running down employee's notice periods. Now must complete full consultation period per DTI timeframes before issue notice, unless can legitimately say have fully completed the collective consultation obligations earlier.
6. Must consult TUs and notify DTI of proposals before issue notice of dismissals; redundancy occurs upon issue of notice not effective date of termination.
7. Consultation about redundancy includes cases of (i) reduced or ceased requirement for work of a particular kind ie. Full time role becomes part-time due to reduced demand etc. (ii) reorganisation-related dismissals ie. Same volume of work but reduced staffing requirement nonetheless (iii) termination of employment with a view to offering fresh employment on different T&Cs (iv) dismissal for any reason(s) not related to the individual themselves.
8. Consult about the consequences of the proposals, not necessarily the underlying economic reasons or decision itself.
9. Consult about how to avoid the proposed redundancies even if there is no realistic alternative to them.
10. Where avoidance measures fail, consult about (i) reduction measures (ii) mitigation measures (iii) selection pool, criteria, methodology to be applied to effect redundancies.
11. Redundancies must be at one establishment. Depending on the circumstances, establishment means the unit to which the redundant staff are assigned to carry out their duties. Whether or not an individual subsidiary, branch, site or School/RI/Service can be an establishment in its own right depends on the degree of effective autonomy the unit has. Also, an establishment does not have to have the decision-making power to independently effect the potential redundancies. A complex and relatively devolved corporate structure does not necessarily imply the absence of centralised decision-making. This allows variation between extremes of one establishment = School/RI/Service, work unit or individual site, to one establishment = the entire corporate entity. Therefore, the entire University may normally = one establishment, unless other significant factors impinge.
12. Recognised TUs = UCU, Amicus, Unison, T&G, GMB, (EIS-ULA, BDA/BMA) etc. or else consult elected representatives. TUs of affected employees includes employees affected by the redundancies and employees affected by measures associated with the redundancies ie. Those "at risk" and those who may be affected even though they themselves are not to be dismissed. This wider impact may include staff who's working hours or T&Cs may change due to others' redundancies.
13. Must be meaningful and genuine with a view to reaching agreement on ways to (i) avoid or (ii) reduce the numbers of, or (iii) to mitigate the consequences of, the potential redundancies. This extends the consultation duty to that of actual negotiation.
14. Provide adequate information through written notice of:
a. Numbers and job categories/descriptions of (i) staff "at risk" (ii) all staff in that category
b. Reasons for proposed redundancies
c. Selection pool & criteria
d. Procedures and timescales
e. Compensation if different from statutory formula.
15. Consultation is commenced by releasing this statutory information to the TU representatives; some of the information may not be available at the start, but what information is available should be provided noting further information will follow during consultation.
16. Must give conscientious consideration to the TUs' responses to the information, thus both management and TUs on 'receive' as well as 'transmit'. Needs to allow time for reflection, and consultation by the parties with their stakeholders.
17. Consultation topics might include measures such as flexible working, redeployment opportunities, calls for volunteers, retraining opportunities, reasonable paid time off to look for other employment or arrange training.
Consultation with Individuals
Consultation must cover the ground identified below and be seen to consider and respond constructively to any suggestions from staff concerning these items.
1. Selection pool and criteria for redundancy
2. Possible ways of avoiding redundancy
3. Possible alternative work
4. Stages: (i) initially advised if post is "at risk", consult upon above issues; (ii) subsequently advised once provisionally selected for redundancy, reconsider above issues and provide financial information, provide notice of termination if necessary and advise of appeal rights
Dispute Resolution Regulations
- Dismissals require member of staff to be advised in writing of reason for redundancy, invited to a meeting & meeting held, and appeal right granted.
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