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To stay or take redundancy

(28 Posts)
iaminadilemma Fri 24-Apr-09 10:45:11

I am in a quandry and thought I would seek advice.

My line manager has decided that after nearly twenty years of employment, I no longer have the skills or competency for the organisation. Six months ago my interim performance review said that I was meeting all my objectives, my team of 20 were all happy with my performance (I am team leader for a group of scientist) and I was an asset to the organisationhmm.

Since then, a new bully HR business partner has joined, we have never seen eye to eye and my weakling line manager has now said that I no longer have the skills or competency for the future direction of his department.

As well as being shocked and confused, I am beginning to feel outrage. If I accept a compromise agreement based on my full redundancy terms, I will receive just over £100k before tax. Also, I am the only one in a department of 400 people that this is happening to, I work part-time and I am one of 6 female scientists. My union rep is also outraged, has spoken to them and told me to only accept an agreement based on compulsory redundancy terms.

However, I don't see why I should leave, particularly during a bleak economic period. In addition, DH and I are buying a new house with a larger mortgage. The redundancy payment would offset the loss of my salary and we can survive on DH's salary until I found a new job.

At the moment, I feel I should just take the money, leave and start somewhere afresh. However, I would have to start on a lower salary (currently earn over £30k part-time). DH said that I should stay and fight because what they are doing is nonsense.

What would you do?

EyeballsintheSky Fri 24-Apr-09 10:50:56

Personally I think that once there is bad feeling in a work place then you've lost. DH was driven out of his job at Christmas by bullies except he resigned before he was dismissed and got no pay out. I think I would take the money. It's a decent sum so you would presumably have a couple of years if not more before things started to bite. You'd always be watching your back if you stayed even if you are in the right.

iaminadilemma Fri 24-Apr-09 10:58:47

That is how I feel. There is no longer any trust or respect and as far as I am concerned, my line manager has abdicated his responsibility and has no credibility.

I would not have to work for a couple of years if I took the money but I really don't see why I should be forced out when I have not done anything wrong! However, I am more of a pragmatist than an idealist and maybe I should count my blessings that at least I will leave with something.

EyeballsintheSky Fri 24-Apr-09 11:01:21

You'd also have to think what would happen if you decided to stay, refused their offer and then six months down the line couldn't stand it anymore. Then you'd be leaving with nothing. I know exactly what you mean about being forced out through no fault of your own though, it's a bloody miserable feeling and infuriating but I don't think you can win there.

EyeballsintheSky Fri 24-Apr-09 11:03:55

I have to say though, when DH was going through this, I was shocked at how little support there is for the wronged party. I always thought that employers had to jump through all sorts of hoops to get rid of someone but that doesn't seem to be the case. Once HR are involved (on the wrong side) then you really have no comeback and the company can do what they like. It's awful.

georgiemum Fri 24-Apr-09 11:08:26

I would grab it with both hands and look for something new (maybe retrain?).

If they are treating you like this, they will keep up the pressure until you go (one way or another). Working in such an environment will have a negative effect on you over time - it will. You will feel constantly undermined and be looking over your shoulder. I am happy for you that they offered redundancy and not decieded to demoralise you until you chose to leave.

Good luck and let us know what you decide.

iaminadilemma Fri 24-Apr-09 11:09:57

That is what my union rep said. My only other option is to find a new role elsewhere in the organisation but that would mean commuting two hours each way and I have two toddlers.

I think I have to accept that my days are numbered and wait until they make the formal offer.

Thanks for the advice and understanding. It really has shocked me at how little rights employees truly have,especially in this economic climatesad.

iaminadilemma Fri 24-Apr-09 11:12:25

I am scientist by training so was thinking about going into teaching because I know there is shortage of science teachers.

flowerybeanbag Fri 24-Apr-09 11:21:25

Employees do have lots of rights these days. The problem isn't usually not enough rights, it's how willing and/or able the employee is to exercise them by making a fuss about something unfair or by bringing a tribunal case. In this climate where jobs are hard to come by, it is obviously less likely that employees want to make a fuss about something, and bringing a tribunal case can be expensive and stressful, but it doesn't mean the rights aren't there.

An employer does have to jump through all sorts of hoops to legally dismiss someone, assuming they have more than a year service, and fortunately, having HR involved most certainly doesn't mean the company can do 'whatever they like'.

A compromise agreement is a way of getting the employer out of jumping through the hoops. But you don't have to accept it, and if you don't, and they do want to dismiss you, they will have to go through hoops.

It sounds like a very good offer you've had though, and worth serious consideration depending on your circumstances.

georgiemum Fri 24-Apr-09 11:21:31

Bastards bastards bastards. There is definately a shortage of science teachers.

iaminadilemma Fri 24-Apr-09 11:28:46

Out of interest flowerybeanbag, what will a compromise agreement contain and what should I be aware of?

Also, if I do refuse, what hoops would they have to go through to dismiss me?

I have never had a negative performance review, and certainly prior to having children and going part-time, I was marked as over-performing. So if there is nothing in my record to say that I am a problem employee, on what basis can they dismiss me?

flowerybeanbag Fri 24-Apr-09 11:36:42

It would contain things like a list of potential claims that you are waiving your right to bring, it would have details of your leaving arrangements, dates and payments made, it would probably have confidentiality clauses or similar, and would usually involve an agreed reference. For a compromise agreement to stand up you must get it checked by a solicitor which your employer must pay for.

I don't know enough about the circumstances to say on what basis they can dismiss you. If they wanted to dismiss you for poor performance, they would have to first formally raise any performance problems with you, give you reasonable opportunity to improve, then if you don't improve they could start following the disciplinary procedure, which would probably mean a warning for failure to improve, and continued failure to improvement might mean a further warning until they get to the stage of dismissing you.

Obviously doing all that would take months, particularly if no problems have been raised thus far.

Alternatively they could make you redundant, but that would depend on how easily they could justify a genuine redundancy situation where your selection is fair, and without more knowledge it's impossible to say whether they could do that.

LeninGrad Fri 24-Apr-09 11:38:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

iaminadilemma Fri 24-Apr-09 11:47:02

Thanks for all the advice.

Neither myself or the union rep can get to the bottom of why this is happening. They just keep saying that I no longer have the right skills or competencies, despite having those skills 6 months agohmm.

I think it is about personalities. There were no problems or issues until this woman arrived and she is indeed the golden girl at the moment with management but interestingly, not with the rest of the workforce. She is not trusted or liked and most of us avoid dealing with her.

iaminadilemma Fri 24-Apr-09 11:52:20

This has been going on for nearly 3 weeks and I feel depression setting in. This morning I work up at 4am and could not go back to sleep. It is constantly on my mind,I have to force myself to put on a happy face for my children, DH says that becoming more insular and remote and I am starting to dread going into work because I am ashamed of my situation.

My colleagues with exception of one, do not know and if I do leave, I worry that they will think it is because I was incompetent and did something wrong.

What a messsad.

DannyWotty1 Fri 24-Apr-09 11:53:12

Was made redundant from my perfect job in December last year (current economic climate forced closure of my department) and can honestly say, the last few months have been amongst the happiest of my life. Compromise agreement gave me more than I was legally entitled to and has given me space and time to look for work.

My friend who also lost her job in same company in circumstances similar to yours was overjoyed to be offered redundancy. Her last few months had been hell so to leave with money was a real bonus, enabling her to look at other options and even re-train.

Long-winded but just wanted to say that sometimes enforced change can bring unexpected benefits - altho' I might not have said that in December!

EyeballsintheSky Fri 24-Apr-09 11:55:09

Your situation is identical to DH's. He was in the job 14 years, everyone loved him and good reports all the way through. Two women changed departments and became the line manager and overall manager and 6 months in to the changeover he was not meeting targets, his work was not up to scratch and he didn't have the skills up to the standard needed etc. They pulled him up in front of other staff, made fun of his efforts and ideas but used the ideas without crediting him. He was told at his next review in April if things hadn't improved he would be dismissed. He knew nothing he did would be acceptable to them so he had no alternative. HR weren't interested and told him their was no procedure in place for making a complaint or fighting it and he would either be moved and demoted or dismissed. These two women have driven people out in two previous departments but no one did anything. Makes me hopping mad.

Sorry for hijacking but I'm just so angry about the way people are treated in the workplace.

sis Fri 24-Apr-09 12:00:14

Just to add to what Flowerybeanbag said, I think some union officials are also authorised to advise on compromise agreement so you may not have to seek advice from a solicitor.

iaminadilemma, having been in a similar situation - where I was the best thing since sliced bread until a bully of a colleague decided to make my life a misery, to the extent that I was about to resign without having a job to move onto. Luckily for me, my employer decided to talk to me about my job being potentially redundant so I offered to sign a compromise agreement - took the money and ran! It took me a few weeks to recover from the bullying and my confidence has only recovered because I am now in a job where people tell me how good I am at my job on a regular basis. Your employer seems to be prepared to offer you a good package so do think about it because if you stay, the damage to confidence and morale can't be measured in £s. Don't forget that this is just their opening gambit and you may be able to get them to push up the offer.

flowerybeanbag Fri 24-Apr-09 12:01:09

But eyeballs that isn't about the rights not being there in the first place. It's illegal not to have a procedure for appealing disciplinary warnings and it's illegal not to have a grievance procedure for making complaints. Even if those procedures are not in existence, your DH could have still exercised his rights to both appeal and raise a grievance.

It sounds as though his employer behaved appallingly, and for obviously very good reasons your DH decided to resign to get out of the situation. But his rights were there. It doesn't mean that the best option for each individual is to fight, and use their rights, but the rights are there.

flowerybeanbag Fri 24-Apr-09 12:04:36

Yes technically it could be a union official checking it, but I would always suggest you insist on a solicitor being paid for.

sis Fri 24-Apr-09 12:05:08

Sorry, I forgot to add that the compromise agreement can include the wording that they will base any future references on. You could also insist on a form of wording they will use to inform your colleagues about your reasons for leaving if you are worried about what they will think.

iaminadilemma Fri 24-Apr-09 12:06:43

Eyeballs, this is what worries me. If I stay, my future performance reviews will be negative. I feel for your DH. I cannot believe that even now people can behave like this and get away with it.

Thanks for the ray of light Dannywotty. If I do accept the offer, I will take some time out and spend it with my children.smile When I think about the early mornings and late nights that I have given to the organisation at the expense of spending time with my children, I feel really bitter.

sis Fri 24-Apr-09 12:09:06

Flowerybeanbag, my so called employment lawyer told me that my employer would recover the redundancy pay element of the compromise agreement from the State! This is incorrect although I think, it was correct in the 1970s.

iaminadilemma Fri 24-Apr-09 12:09:14

Sis, my confidence is at rock bottom and I use to have bucket loads of it. Thanks for the advice.

DannyWotty1 Fri 24-Apr-09 13:46:44

iaminadilemma
I know whatever you decide will be right for you. Losing my job has given the whole family some space to think about our lives and what we really want - I've not only enjoyed being with DD but also DP! and not being stressed, even walking in the park this morning and having a coffee in this lovely weather. I know I've been very lucky in receiving a compromise payment, many people in the same position have not been so fortunate.
Given the choice, I would have preferred to keep my job (I loved it!) but having REAL time for family and friends has been a blessing.
Good luck - would love to hear how it works out smile

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