‘Prospect fighting my corner’: Helping a member facing sudden redundancy

16 September 2021

It is a nightmare that you think could never happen to you… Coming to work one morning and being told that you’re facing sudden redundancy.

This is exactly what happened to Gavin Tyler just before Christmas. Thankfully though, he is Prospect member and here’s a salutary tale about why it always pays to be in a union.

Business people applauding

Administrators arrived at Prospect member Gavin Tyler’s workplace on December 8 and announced to the 70 staff employed at Rhys Davies & Sons’ Cardiff site that they were being made redundant.

This came as a surprise – no-one knew the company was facing financial difficulties – the opposite; the Board had approved a new three-year telecoms contract and made several new IT hardware purchases.

Staff were told that they would be made redundant just before Christmas. They were understandably concerned and tried to ask questions, but no dialogue was forthcoming. Promises to update staff by email were not kept and no-one saw or heard anything from the directors again.

Gavin was shocked to discover he was being dismissed so suddenly with no warning, discussion or consultation. He had been employed by the company for 25 years.

The employer had a redundancy policy which stated that employees would be consulted in the event of redundancy – but this never happened, and Gavin contacted Prospect to discuss his options.

Prospect Legal agreed that the employer had failed to comply with its legal obligation to consult under s188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 following its proposal to dismiss 20 or more employees at one establishment within a period of 90 days or less.

Prospect assisted Gavin in his claim for a Protective Award of 90 days’ pay and he was supported by Negotiations officer, Daniel Maney.

Gavin was represented by Legal officer, Jane Copley, at the hearing of the case at the Cardiff Employment Tribunal on 24th August, at which the Judge agreed that the employer had failed to comply with its legal obligation to consult and awarded Gavin the maximum award of 90 days’ pay.

Legal officer, Jane Copley said: “Gavin’s case is sadly all too common and employers routinely fail to comply with legal requirements in this type of scenario. There is scant concern or respect for employees like Gavin, who have dedicated years of their life to their work, only to be discarded with no notice, and no discussion or consideration. We are pleased to have been able to assist Gavin with his claim and to secure the maximum award.”

Negotiations officer, Daniel Maney said: “Gavin’s case is one that really shows the value of being in a trade union. From the beginning we were able to assist him by dealing directly with the administrators to try to get the best outcome for Gavin as well as ensuring he obtained what he was legally entitled to.”

Gavin Tyler said: “At a stressful time, it really helped having a team of Prospect experts who understood my rights. Neither my employer nor the parent company made themselves available to brief employees or answer questions following a declaration of insolvency, and simply cut staff adrift.

“My Prospect representative, Daniel Maney, helped me engage with the Insolvency Practitioners to ensure fair play in my final days with the company and when it came to the Employment Tribunal, the Prospect legal team dealt with the formalities, kept me informed of progress, and represented me at the hearing. It would have been incredibly difficult to reach the same end result without Prospect fighting my corner.”