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ADVICE FOR PEOPLE FACING REDUNDANCY

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With around 60,000 people in Britain made redundant each month, the TUC is today launching a free advice booklet fo...
With around 60,000 people in Britain made redundant each month, the TUC is today launching a free advice booklet for people facing redundancy or worried about being made redundant. The launch of the booklet comes ahead of official unemployment figures (to be published Wednesday 16th), which are expected to show another increase in unemployment.

The 24 page booklet is available free by calling the TUC's know your rights line 0870 600 4 882 or going online. Lines are open every day from 8am-10pm. Calls are charged at the national rate.

It contains advice on the legal minimum consultation period, notice period, redundancy pay, tax, benefits, pensions and retraining.

TUC general secretary John Monks said:

'There seem to be redundancies in the news most days, and we estimate that another 150,000 manufacturing jobs will go in 2002. In unionised companies, workers can rely on their union to press for alternatives or at least secure a good deal. But those facing redundancy in non-union companies probably have little idea of their rights or what to do if redundancies are looming. That is why the TUC has produced this straightforward guide for anyone worried about redundancy.'

Latest figures (Labour Force Survey, Summer 2001) show around 60,000 people in the UK are made redundant each month. The following shows the approximate rate of redundancy, per month, by region:

South East 8,700

North West 7,500

Eastern 6,800

West Midlands 6,200

Scotland 5,600

London 5,300

Yorkshire & Humberside 4,700

East Midlands 4,200

South West 3,500

For Wales, North East and Northern Ireland there is an insufficient sample size in the Labour Force Survey to provide a reliable estimate. The TUC believes around 3,000 jobs were lost last month in the North East, mainly in manufacturing, while in Wales, steel company Corus alone announced 3,100 redundancies last year.

Manufacturing has the highest rate of redundancies with around 23,200 per month. Government figures (Employee Jobs in Manufacturing, October 2001) show that almost 150,000 manufacturing jobs were lost last year. The TUC believes another 150,000 jobs will be lost during 2002. Some high profile redundancy announcements are now starting to be implemented with 2,600 redundancies completed next month when Ford ends car production at their Dagenham plant and another 2,000 the following month when Vauxhall ends Vectra production in Luton.

High tech manufacturing is also under pressure. Before Christmas, electronics firm NEC announced plans to close their semi-conductor plant in Livingstone, West Lothian. The plans to axe 1,200 jobs come on top of year of high tech manufacturing redundancies in Scotlandincluding Motorola and Compaq.

The service sector is also affected with around 11,800 redundancies each month in banking, finance and insurance. Distribution, hotels and restaurants are making around 9,600 redundancies a month, while around 5,600 are made in transport and communications.

Some workers are simply worried by the talk of economic slow down and 'shop talk' of possible job losses. Consignia Chief Executive John Roberts caused anxiety when he used what he admitted was 'speculative arithmetic' in suggesting that 30,000 job losses would be required to cut their cost base. Postal union CWU has vowed to oppose such redundancies.

Redundancy Rights - Summary

Consultation must take place:

* if 20 to 99 employees are to be made redundant at one establishment over a period of 90 days or less. Consultation must last at least 30 days

* if 100 or more employees are to be made redundant as above, consultation must last at least 90 days

If you are made redundant you are entitled to a minimum period of notice. For every year you have worked for your employer, you should get one week's notice, up to a maximum of 12 weeks. If your employer makes, or lets, you leave before this period you should still be paid for the full notice period.

To be entitled to the legal minimum redundancy pay you must have:

* worked continuously for at least two years for your employer (time you have taken off for maternity or parental leave is included

The legal minimum you should get depends on:

* how long you have worked for your employer (with continuous service)

* how old you are

* how much you are paid

If you are 41 or over:

For each complete year of employment after your 41st birthday, but before you turn 65, you should get one and a half week's pay

If you are aged 22-40:

For each complete year of employment after your 22nd birthday, but before you turn 41, you should get one week's pay

If you are aged 18-21:

For each complete year of employment while you were either 18, 19, 20 or 21 you should get half a week's pay.

But you can only count:

up to 20 years' service

your pay up to a fairly modest weekly limit. Until 1 February 2002, the limit is£240. It is uprated each year in line with the Retail Price Index.

You do not have to pay tax on redundancy payments less than£30,000 and receiving a redundancy payment does not affect your right to claim unemployment benefit.

This summary applies to most people but the booklet contains details of exceptions and qualifications.

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