In August, IT company Fujitsu announced 1,200 job cuts due to the difficult global economic climate. A process of consultation with elected employee representatives of Unite union began shortly afterwards.
770 staff from the 1,200 initially targeted redundancies have already taken compulsory redundancy. But Unite says up to 6,000 staff - nearly half of Fujitsu's UK workforce - are "at risk" of losing their jobs.
The jobs announcement came on top of an ongoing pay freeze and plans to close the company's defined benefit pension plan to future accruals. Unite says this would affect 4,000 UK employees and effectively reduce their pay package by an average of 20%.
"Fujitsu intends to force this through by dismissing employees after the end of the consultation period in November, and offering them employment on new contracts which are unchanged except in relation to pensions," the union said. Unite then announced three-day strike action due to commence last Thursday.
A strike was avoided at the eleventh hour, however, after Fujitsu agreed to extend talks over pensions and to delay compulsory redundancies.
Consultation on pensions will now continue until at least 31st January 2010. Moreover, Fujitsu has also agreed that no employee selected for compulsory redundancy who wishes to remain in Fujitsu will have their employment terminated before 31st January 2010. Where redundancies arise, the company intends to give notices of dismissal on 11th December 2009 and use some or all of employees' notice periods and/or annual leave entitlements to cover the period between 11th December 2009 and 31st January 2010.
What is redundancy?
Redundancy occurs when an employer needs to reduce the workforce for some reason unrelated to the conduct or capability of the individual(s) concerned. Generally, a job must disappear for an employee to be made redundant. But it can also happen if someone else's job disappears and they are moved into your job, making you redundant - known as redundancy bumping.
Employees have a number of legal rights in relation to redundancy, including:
- right to consultation before redundancy to discuss
- right to fair and objective redundancy selection criteria and
- right to an explanation of the reasons for dismissal and the basis of
- right to appeal against redundancy
- right to try any alternative offer of employment for four weeks
- right to notice period or payment in lieu of notice
- right to take reasonable time off, with pay, to look for alternative
work or training
- right to redundancy payment, provided the employee satisfies eligibility requirements
Depending on the circumstances of your case, however, it may be better to speak with a solicitor who specialises in employment law. You can be matched with a solicitor in your area for free via solicitor matching services, which can also help you to understand the best course of action for your situation and whether you are ready to hire a solicitor.