The dreaded redundancy

My wife works for a county council as a teacher in a managerial position. She is line manager to 4 other teachers who are the county advisors for a particular phase of education. She is in effect the trainer for half the county and has a team of 4 to help. The county has decided that management should go and that the management should be reduced to 1 at her level, or a bit higher and 2 at her level or a little bit lower. They called in the 5 personnel who were in the possible running for her job.. On interview my wife was rubbish, mainly because she was seriously rattled by the whole process and had had virtually no time to prepare being busy doing 2 jobs. As a result one of her subordinated has got the job that closely resembled hers. The other job has been filled by her counterpart from the other half of the county.

Therein the background.

She now has 2 options

Voluntary redundancy

or go into a pool for a job for which there are no job descriptions nor any structure. All she knows is that they are going to be paid considerably less than she is paid now.

As she is just over 55 she has been told that she has to take early retirement if she goes for voluntary redundancy.

She only has 21 years pension as she was a good girl and followed the colours with me

She is being offered 1.5 x actual weekly wages x continuous service and her pension upgraded by 3.5 years

We know that others are being offered 2.5 x actual weekly wage but not early retirement as they are under 55 and others offered early retirement have been offered 5 years uplift (aged 59).

It does not seem very even handed.

As they are being forced either to take early retirement or enter a job lottery where they have no idea what the prize is or worse still if not matched, due to being too qualified, being made compulsorily redundant where the pay off is seriously worse; could this constitute constructive dismissal?

I am particularly cross as earlier this year they asked her to step up a post to run the team as she was the best in the team. They then nicked her holidays from her by making her job half teachers pay and conditions and half soulbury, no teachers holidays! They also mucked about with her pension rights.

She is totally crushed by what has happened as she really enjoyed her job and put masses into it. Her performance at interview was totally uncharacteristic and none of her colleagues can believe what has happened.
She has decided to jack it all in but I want to make the education department pay up properly, we going to be down 44k salary!

any advice?


Book Reviewer
If she's in a Union she could talk to her Union Rep, although in my experience they weren't much help.

Talk to CAB or an employment lawyer.

IMHO she should then take the money and run. Redundo packages are not getting better, and at 55 she and with her experience and contacts, she could probably do some lucrative consultancy work for the very people who think she is surplus to requirements at the moment.
Having just been through the redundancy process myself, the advice I have to offer is don’t mess about go and see a solicitor. It may cost a bit but the alternative is to lose what could amount to a fair proportion of income. Also, time is of the essence if your wife is in a consultation period, after the period is finished communication and hence ‘bargaining’ may effectively cease.

The whole thing is a charade, there’s no mr nice guy operating for the other side. Having said that, my employment was private sector but it felt very much that they held all the cards and I got no advice or guidance about my rights. It’s vital that you are as well informed as the other side are about the legal aspects.

There is some information and guidance on the ACAS website and also the directgov website but ultimately it doesn’t teach you how to fight as dirty as the other side are likely to.

One other bit of advice is take notes/dates and document every conversation that is held between your wife and her employers.

(Bitter? Moi?)

Good luck
just thought of something else; If the terms for compulsory redundancy are worse that voluntary redundancy, you need to investigate the alternative role offered as you don't want to end up with either that role or CR. It’s important to understand whether the new role is a reasonable alternative or not. The fact that it is less money makes it difficult for them to argue it is a suitable alternative as compensation (and status) are major considerations. It's up to them to prove it's a suitable alternative, you could argue that it is a different role, not a suitable alternative. Again, it's something that a solicitor will be able to help with.
She really needs to see a Union Rep or a Non-Union Rep, Redundancy is quite a legal swamp. Points to note that only the JOB can be made redundant NOT the PERSON.
Also as long as Statutory redundancy is paid out (it's shit!) employers are pretty much in the driving seat as to who gets what. Redundancy payment/law is incredibly lax in this country, so don't get your hopes up too high, but do dig out T&C's.


Book Reviewer
I'd seriously consider for your wife to go into the jobs pool. She's (if I read your post right) being offered 1.5 x actual weekly wages x continuous service = 31.5 weeks pay. That's about £26.5K - the bulk of which will be tax free.

She won't get much in the way of benefits until that's down to £8K, and then not all benefits because you're still in work.

Unless your wife feels confident she can get work within 6 months, she's better off taking the lower paid job. That way she's still got a wage coming in while she looks for something better paid. (Although she needs to take advice on what happens if they declare the lower paid job surplus to requirements a few months later).

Jobs are not going to be easy to find in the current climate - and its better to have some wage coming in than be on benefits.

I doubt she will get anything by way of benefits as I am reasonably well paid.I also have my pension. I a, just furious at how it is all being handled.
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