16 January 2015:
Redundancy arises when an employer’s business closes down, or stops in the place where the employee was employed. Alternatively it arises when there is a reduction in the need for the business for that particular kind of work, or the particular work in that particular place. (s139 ERA96)
In EXOL Lubricants v Birch reported this week, some delivery drivers considered themselves to be redundant, but the employer disagreed. They lived in Salford but the depot was up the road in Wednesbury. Their employment contracts said their work place was Wednesbury. EXOL had arranged secure parking in Salford which the drivers went to each morning to collect their HGVs, but then Exol had to withdraw that parking.
The truckers argued that EXOL ceased to carry on business in the place where they were employed, because their secure HGV parking in Salford was taken away. The EAT however considered that their place of work was the depot in Wednesbury, because on the facts, that was where their working day began and ended. There was no redundancy at Wednesbury because the job and the need for people to do it there remained.
The truckers might have been able to resign and claim constructive unfair dismissal instead. However when an employee considers himself redundant, but the employer disagrees, the employee can be left in quite a difficult situation, especially if he is after a discretionary redundancy payment.
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