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As the recession continues to bite, more and more companies are going to the wall, some of them without giving their employees due warning.

Just the other week a large company in the West of Scotland closed its doors and turned its back on its employees.  Very little was known by its workers until the last minute. Indeed many turned up only to be faced with locked gates and doors.

Employment law protects workers’ rights, and when a company is wound up in normal circumstances the staff should be consulted and they have a right to redundancy pay.

An employer who is proposing to dismiss as redundant 20 or more employees at one establishment within a period of 90 days or less, is legally bound to consult all affected employees, or their trade union or other representatives, and to give them a 30-90 day ‘consultation period’ prior to making them redundant. 

This period of notice means that workers are less likely to book holidays, make expensive purchases and can try to find alternative employment, knowing that trouble is ahead.

The consultation period also puts an obligation on employers to listen to solutions from employees to avoid the redundancy.  These could be in the form of voluntary pay cuts, cuts in hours or a way to run things more efficiently.

My friends at Thompsons are able to obtain compensation for groups of workers not afforded this ‘consultation period’.  Even if the company that has made the sudden job cuts is broke, compensation for not allowing the legal period for consultation can be claimed from the Government.

If you and your colleagues find you have been affected in this way you should seek expert help.

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