You and the Law – 10th November 2009

Avoiding payouts

My wife has worked for a firm for about 16 years.  Two months ago, she was told that all jobs were being regraded, which would have resulted in a 20 per cent pay cut for her.

They said if this was unacceptable they would be offered redundancy, an option my wife decided to take.  However, management keep delaying the decision about when redundancy will be available; it appears the company is hoping that staff will find other jobs so it won’t have to pay out.  What’s the position on this?  LW

It’s a very common tactic among employers, and of course it makes sense for them: if employees leave of their own accord it means the burden of redundancy payouts will be that much lighter.

I take it your wife hasn’t had a clear offer of redundancy which she has been able to accept in writing.  In that case no contract exists and the firm isn’t as yet committed to paying her redundancy compensation.  However, they can’t cut her wages in the meantime either.  It’s a game of cat and mouse.

Taking stock

Ten years ago a supermarket was built at the bottom of my garden.  There were supposed to be no deliveries before 7am and after 8pm.  But they’ve started delivering earlier and later and on bank holidays.

We complained to the planning department, who said they would get three warnings before being fined.  However, the supermarket soon went back to its old ways, and as I write, a delivery is taking place at 10pm.  CH

The answer is to keep on to the planning department to enforce the conditions which were evidently attached to planning consent for the site.

Keep a diary of the comings and goings at the supermarket and submit your notes to the planners at regular intervals.  You could possibly take the supermarket to court yourself for ‘nuisance’, but this could be expensive.
Getting the local authority to take action is your best bet.

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