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Threat to redundancy rights leads to dispute at Red Bee

23 September 2009

BECTU and the NUJ have registered a dispute with Red Bee Media in response to a proposal to introduce statutory redundancy terms.

Red Bee Media logoRed Bee Media is in dispute with recognised unions, BECTU and the NUJ

Talks broke down last week when the employer announced its intention to tear up the long-established redundancy agreement in favour of the minimum terms provided by statute.

In cases of redundancy, staff at Red Bee are contractually entitled to four weeks' pay for each year of service up to a maximum of 24 months pay. Typically, the statutory scheme provides for just one week's pay (capped at £330)  for each year of service up to a maximum 20 years' service.

BECTU has registered a dispute with the company over their proposed changes to terms and conditions.

Talks about revisions to the agreement had been running concurrently with consultations on a reduction of 50 in the headcount.

Initally, the employer had proposed that new starters would be subject to statutory redundancy terms; however, on16 September management announced its intention to apply the statutory rules to all staff.

"The development left BECTU and the NUJ with no option but to put the matter into dispute," explained national offiical, Suresh Chawla.

“We have been in negotiations on a major restructuring where we have managed to avoid virtually all compulsory redundancies.” 

“The majority have been voluntary, though consultations are continuing. We currently have two members in access services whom we are hoping can be redeployed."

 'Management's position untenable'

“Management’s proposal to put all staff onto statutory redundancy terms is simply untenable. Our members were already in a very difficult situation having to cope with the recent restructure and proposed changes to other terms and conditions.

"The decision to try to slash redundancy entitlement is completely unacceptable.”

Suresh Chawla added: “Any company that is trying so hard to slash its redundancy responsibilities cannot have any confidence in its future. We have received no confirmation that this is the end to the restructuring and the future remains uncertain for our members.”

Efforts are underway to secure an early meeting under the disputes procedure.  

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