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Redundancy Question


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Right, as with a lot of places where I work are getting shot of a few people, or 'reducing costs'. I won't bore you with the details of the farcical procedure but I need some info on secret ballots, basically we're getting asked to sign and date them, which isn't very secretive (except from the other employees). The only info i've found related to trade unions and strikes, so has anyone got any info on the definition/rules of 'secret ballots', obviously relating to redundancy, and not a general legal definition.



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Do you have a union you can talk to? I don't know about the legalities of it at all, but it seems like a really horrible thing to have to do. If everyone refused together, you wouldn't have to worry?

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I think you have a somewhat 'below standard' union/steward if they're forcing you to sign your name - all this will achieve is people being forced into making an opinion that matches the majority vote for fear of being the workplace 'outcast'.

If you don't like the way they're going about the vote then either don't vote at all, sign the paper annoymous or talk to your union rep about the problem. Although they may ask you to sign your name to simply prevent rigging the vote.

Although if you ask me its a pretty stupid way of going about business. They're making cuts like most other businesses in the UK, if you're talking about strike action here it'll seriously damage the companies status and instead of getting rid of one or two employees it could strengthen the blow or simply put them out of business so everyone loses their jobs.

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We don't have a union at work. It's a realatively small company (50 or so people) and this is just what the directors have given us, supposedly in line with what they've been advised.

The reason we're signing them is to accept a change of terms and conidition of employment (to reduce our working week to 4 days temporarily, although for an unknown length of time), which is kind of rolled into the ballot, as opposed to signing a new contract if the outcome of a secret ballot with a simple 'yes/no' is that we all agree to the change (which is how i think it should be done).

Anyway - the general situation so you can admire the incompetence of our managers (sorry, it's going to be a bit of an essay):

We did this ballot a couple of weeks ago when all we knew was that we were all in the pool considered for redundancy (which is 8 people in our department, all of us) and the decision wasn't a unanimous acceptance of the 4 days a week proposal. All except one of us (some brown nosing paddy who pretty much knew he was safe) agreed to the 4 days, so they proceeded with redundancy procedure. The bottom 2 people were notified and had another meeting to discuss with the directors the points they were given and it was still decided that they were the two to go.

That was some time middle of last week, anyway on Friday at 4:55, just before we left we were all handed another letter telling us they 'have an obligation and a preference to seek ways to avoid redundancies and are holding a re-vote'. Now bear in mind that 6 of the 8 now know that they aren't going to be the ones getting the boot, can you see why it's suddenly going to be a different outcome? Course not! Nobody was happy about the time wasting re-vote (most were pretty livid!), not even the 2 people who are supposed to be leaving, we had to hand them in at 10am yesterday and got the result today and surprise surprise the outcome was exactly the same as last time.

From the general feel of peoples comments everyone stuck with their original options and most voted for the 4 day week, probably more out of decency than actually wanting to take a 20% cut over getting rid of 2 people though, and most were secretly hoping that the outcome would be the same as last time. Now the bit that is annoying is that the directors had held a ballot and it was decided 2 people would lose their jobs, the redundancy selection procedure was done and 2 people were selected - job done you would have thought but amongst generally f**king around and wasting time, most people feel it was a big brother style nomination and eviction, and effectively shifting the blame for getting rid of the people from the directors on to the department as they're too chicken to just get down to business and axe people. Rumours have also been flying about that if work doesn't pick up they'll just have to close the office down - now if that is true and they're only getting rid of 25% of people, and still trying to avoid that, then they're definitel heading for the scrapheap!

It's a shame they're so useless as they're nice people and it's good fun working there, but they're going to blow a lot away by trying to be nice, IMO business is business and we're in a recession - whatever saves you the most money, just get on with it.

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