Approximately 2,000 jobs are currently at risk as British Steel has confirmed its plan to close its blast furnaces in Scunthorpe, in a bid to create a “clean, green and sustainable business”.
From an employment law perspective, it will be interesting to see how the company deals with these collective redundancies. We have drafted this blog post to help British Steel employees in Scunthorpe who might be affected understand what collective redundancies are and address some of the main questions that arise in relation to them.
What is redundancy?
Redundancy is a form of dismissal from your current role, as the role is no longer needed.
What is consultation?
Consultation is a process whereby the employer needs to come to an agreement with the employee on how redundancy will take place.
If the employer is planning 20+ redundancies in the space of 90 days, the employer MUST hold a collective consultation. This consultation requires either a Trade Union representative or an Employee Representative to be present.
If the employer dismisses between 20-99 employees, the consultation must take place at least 30 days before and for 100 or more redundancies, at least 45 days before.
What payments are you entitled to?
Employers must pay Statutory Redundancy Pay to any employee who has been employed for at least two years, as well as the usual payments which you are entitled to on termination (notice, holiday pay, etc).
Statutory Redundancy Pay has several factors which need to be considered in order to ensure it is correct. The government has created a Statutory Redundancy Pay calculator to help determine this.
Employees should check their contract to see if they are entitled to more than the statutory amount, which is usually referred to as ‘enhanced’ or ‘contractual’ redundancy pay.
Can this process be avoided?
Employers may offer a Settlement Agreement as an alternative route to collective consultation and redundancies—this will usually include some form of enhanced redundancy payment. You are under no obligation to accept this where it is offered, but rejecting it may lose any enhanced sums which are offered.
If you are given a settlement offer then you will require legal advice on this in order for it to be legally binding—please do get in touch with us for this and you can find out more below.
Basic checklist for British Steel employees
- Have you received in writing the reasons for the redundancy?
- Are you aware of what the proposed method of selection is for the redundancy (employers need to establish a fair and objective criteria for the selection)?
- Has your employer discussed an alternative to redundancy with you?
- Have you checked your notice period in your Contract of Employment?
- Do you know how you can appeal the redundancy selection?
What Thrive can do to help
Here at Thrive we specialise in employment law and we are passionate about helping both employers and employees in a clear cut way.
Collective redundancies will, more often than not, result in Settlement Agreements. In order for a Settlement Agreement to be legally enforceable, employees MUST obtain advice in relation to the terms of the Agreement. This is something we can assist with at Thrive.
Please reach out via email@example.com if you require assistance and we can arrange for a free 15-minute call with a Solicitor to better understand your situation.
Please note this blog is for reference purposes only and is only accurate at which the date it was published. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking or deciding not to take any actions. Please contact us if you have any questions on firstname.lastname@example.org.