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Advice on redundancy process please

(8 Posts)
iPadwidow Sat 28-May-11 21:39:21

hi

I work for a multinational company and my role reports into and is funded by our French office, but my contract is with our uk office with no mention of the French connection.

I'm just about to start maternity leave and have just found out through a colleague that the company have hired someone with a similar skill set to me to perform my role at a level above me and this person will be based in France. The company have totally kept this from me. The new person starts the day after my ML starts. And there isn't the work to keep us both occupied when I return to work. So I am pretty sure they aren't planning on me returning to work.

I am pretty sure they will find a way to make me redundant while I am on ML so would be grateful for some advice so I can look after my interests.

Firstly, would it be easy for them to justify making my role redundant? The work is clearly there to be done. It seems pretty sneaky of them to hire at a more senior level on the quiet and then get rid of me. HR are pretty ruthless though.

And secondly, if my role is in the French organisation, would the redundancy exercise need to be performed by and within the French organisation or would the Uk office make me redundant? I can't see how the uk office could justify making my role redundant when I don't actually work for them. But maybe I am just being naive.

Grateful for any advice on how HR might push this through.

flowery Sun 29-May-11 18:51:49

on the face of it at present, all that's happened is your work is being covered by someone in France while you are on maternity leave. There's nothing wrong with that, they are not obliged to inform you how they plan to cover your role during your maternity leave or anything, so it's not 'sneaky' or 'on the quiet'.

If your role is redundant and your contract is with the UK office they will handle it. Potentially if the organisation made a business decision it felt your job needed to be done in France, that could be a legitimate redundancy situation. Redundancy is about diminishing requirements for the role in that location, so transferring a job overseas is a decision a business is allowed to take.

I think at the moment you just have to wait and see what happens. If they do start redundancy proceedings, and you feel the decision to transfer the role (if that is indeed what they do) overseas is unnecessary/purely because of your maternity leave, you could consider claiming sex discrimination. But at present nothing is wrong so it's a case of seeing what happens next.

iPadwidow Sun 29-May-11 19:00:52

Hi

I take your point flowery, but I think they are being sneaky. I saw a copy of the person's job description and it's essentially the same as my job description. Fine if that's a job description for a temporary maternity cover, but it's a permanent position so something isn't right.

I think they will say that cost means it makes business sense to relocate the role to France, but then surely the legitimate way to go is to ask me to relocate, and if I say no, fill the post in France. They seem to be going about it in reverse if everything is legitimate and transparent.

flowery Sun 29-May-11 19:21:15

If you know someone has been recruited on a permanent basis doing your job then that's a bit different, and things should be happening now.

I would suggest you write to your manager and HR saying you understand someone has been recruited on a permanent basis to do your job starting when you go on mat leave. Say you understand they need to cover your role while you are off, however as this person is permanent you are concerned as to where that leaves you, given there has been no consultation/redundancy process.

iPadwidow Tue 31-May-11 14:17:36

I will do that flowery, thanks.

If they (as I suspect) do go ahead and move to make my role redundant on grounds of cost/location what laws would they need to follow to select the pool of people being considered for redundancy - from what I understand they have to apply criteria to determine a pool of people at risk rather than just considering me alone.

basically it would have to be the French organisation wanting to save costs for me to be picked out so the pool would have to be within the French organisation not the British organisation. I'm confused about how the redundancy exercise could be run. Surely the French office would need to run it under French law, then inform the uk office to do the necessary and get rid of me in compliance with uk law. But if they identified me as the person to be made redundant under French rules, surely that wouldn't satisfy the uk process.

Or is this simpler than it appears?

I know it's all theoretical for now but it would be good to understand how it will work. I am pretty confident it won't be theory for long.

prh47bridge Tue 31-May-11 16:10:54

You are overcomplicating.

The pool of people can legitimately contain just one person. If, for example, an organisation employs one bottle washer but no longer has any bottles that need washing they will make that post redundant. The pool of people considered for redundancy will consist of their one and only bottle washer. There is no need to artificially bring other people into the process.

So if you are the only person in the UK doing your job and your employer decides to transfer the role to France, you will be the only person considered for redundancy. They certainly don't have to involve people in the French office to create an artificial pool when you are the only person realistically at risk of redundancy. That would be nonsensical.

iPadwidow Tue 31-May-11 22:11:59

Thanks. I am struggling to get my head around it. The bottle washer analogy is helpful though.

I am basically a bottle washer who washes very specific bottles you only find in France. I don't wash bottles for the uk and i am not funded to wash my French bottles by the uk. So the uk office aren't really in a position to decide they don't want me to wash their bottles any more. It would have to be the French organisation deciding that.

I wish I did wash bottles, after the crap last day before maternity leave I have had, washing bottles seems much more rewarding than what I actually do wink

Sigh

flowery Wed 01-Jun-11 09:52:22

The French organisation will be the ones making the decision about whether they wish to relocate your role or not. If you are employed by the UK office they would be the ones carrying out the process.

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