Van McKellar | Partner

STV2’s Closure and Redundancy Rights

The closure of STV2’s channel has resulted in 25 jobs being cut and a further 34 to be lost as STV restructures its channel and content cover. The NUJ’s organiser John Toner spoke on behalf of his union members saying how angry they were by the way “the decisions have been communicated and by the lack of information surrounding the announcement that has been made today.”

The decision to close the channel, which lost £800,000 in the 12 month period since its launch in 2017, is to allow the channel to focus on new content and programming.

Regardless, the closure means that 59 jobs will be lost.

Legally, an employer can dismiss fairly for five reasons: conduct, capability (including poor performance and ill health), breach of statutory requirement, “some other substantial reason” and redundancy. A redundancy situation occurs where:

  •  A company closes/relocates, or an employer decides to shut down its business;
  •  A specific workplace closes/relocates, or an employer decides to close a specific workplace, such as one of its offices, stations, or factories;
  •  An employer no longer needs as many employees to carry out a particular type of work.

The fairness of a redundancy dismissal will depend on whether the employer followed a fair procedure, and whether it was for the employer to dismiss, taking into account all circumstances including the size and administrative resources of the business.

In an employment tribunal, the judge will decide whether an employer has acted reasonably in dismissing the employee (applying the general test of fairness in s98(4) of the Employment Rights Act 1996).

An employer should begin the selection process by identifying the group of employees at risk of redundancy, known as the “redundancy selection pool”, before applying to decide which employees should be retained and which will be provisionally selected for redundancy.

For a redundancy dismissal to be fair, the employer should:

  •  Identify an appropriate redundancy selection pool (i.e. a group of employees at risk of redundancy);
  •  Apply objective selection criteria to those in the pool;
    a. (e.g., performance, length of service, skills/qualifications/training, attendance record, time-keeping, disciplinary record)
    b. Your employer will need to be able to justify different weighting to each criteria as fair in the circumstances.
    c. The selection criteria must be applied in a fair way, by an appropriate manager(s), with reference o accurate and up-to-date information and documentation.
    d. Your employer cannot apply redundancy criteria that discriminate.
  • Consult with individuals in the pool;
    a. At the end of the consultation period, your employer will confirm whether it is making you redundant, or whether an alternative to redundancy has been found.
  •  Consider suitable alternative employment where appropriate, subject to a trial period.
    a. Your employer is obliged to consider you for any suitable alternative vacancies that become available in the business or in any associated companies.
    b. You can accept an alternative role on a four-week trial basis to decide whether it is suitable for you.

In the weeks that follow, NUJ and those employed by STV2 will consider whether or not their redundancies have followed a fair process. If you have been made redundant and have questions about your process, please contact the Employment Team at Jackson Boyd as soon as possible. There is a strict timebar for employment claims (three months less a day from the date of termination), so the earlier you contact, the more likely you will be in presenting a valid redundancy claim.

Van McKellar

Van McKellar

Dispute Resolution Team

“I see my role as a problem solver – seeking to understand the factual basis of my clients’ disputes and applying a legal and commercial analysis in seeking to resolve them, whether by negotiation or by means of litigation or some other alternative means of dispute resolution.”

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