Since the Department for Education (DfE) announced its plans to cut 1,000 stuff in England it has received a large number of warns that if this happened it would face numerous claims of unfair dismissal. The reason the department has taken this decision is that it plans to cut its operating costs by 50% from 2010 to 2015. Another changes that are about to happen are the number of DfE offices in England the number of which will be cut from 12 to 6.
In the words of DfE the cuts will be made on capability grounds but the department says this is not a redundancy so it does not follow established redundancy procedures.
A solicitor for the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) called Andrew James sent a letter to the Chris Wormald (secretary in DfE) in which he wrote that the department would face many employment tribunal headaches if it fails to follow redundancy procedures.
According to Mr. James PCS was being “mystified” by the DfE’s refusal to follow redundancy procedures. “A reduction in costs of 50%, a potential reduction in staff of 25% and the closure of six offices clearly gives rise to a potential redundancy situation.
“The department’s assertion to the contrary is, with respect, completely unsustainable.”
The remark of the PCS general secretary, Mark, Serwotka was that this was just an example of the chaos at the heart of education secretary Michael Gove’s department.
Yesterday 63.6% of the department staff members in the PCS voted pro strike action.
Their industrial actions were denounced harsh by a spokesperson for the DfE in whose opinion the proposed changes were necessary to “create a department that delivers an excellent service to the public, while ensuring value for money for the taxpayer.”
“We have made it clear that we want to avoid compulsory redundancies wherever possible and have held extensive discussions with the PCS and we are consulting with staff on the proposed changes,” he added.
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