Redundancy talk time set to be halved to 45 days

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TIME allocated for redundancy talks will be halved to 45 days under UK government plans which have infuriated unions but won praise from business leaders.

Employment relations minister Jo Swinson was accused of making it easier to sack workers, after she unveiled changes from next April, which she said would help employees and businesses.

Firms planning to make at least 100 redundancies have had to consult with employees,
usually through unions, for 90 days, a process which has been in place for years.

The minister said a consultation on the changes had produced a strong argument for shortening the 90-day period, adding: “The process is usually completed well within the existing 90-day minimum period, which can cause unnecessary
delays for restructuring and make it difficult for those affected to get new jobs quickly.

“Our reforms will strike an appropriate balance between making sure employees are engaged in decisions about their future and allowing employers greater certainty and flexibility to take necessary steps to restructure.”

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “The last thing we need is for the government to make it easier to sack people.”

However, Dr Adam Marshall, director of policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Requiring a business to spend a quarter of a year consulting on how to restructure is unnecessary, frustrating and potentially disastrous.

“The new rules will enable timely but fair decisions.”