Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Pinning down redundancy consultation

When redundancy is threatened, there must be a period of consultation with the relevant representatives of the workforce. The number of days is laid down in rough proportion to the number of redundancies.

Although redundancies in schools and colleges may fall below the statutory baseline, it is always important to consult for a reasonable time. There should be reasons given for a decision which include consideration of any arguments put forward by the representatives of employees at risk.

A recent case confirms this. Shanahan, a firm involved in a construction job in England, was suddenly and unexpectedly told that it must reduce the number of workers on site.

The deadline for this was within the statutory consultation period for the number of workers to be declared redundant, but the company simply went ahead without consultation.

In Shanahan v Unite, the employment appeal tribunal insisted that the company had a duty to consult to avoid, reduce or mitigate the effects of redundancy.

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