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Redundancy or Not?

blasted

Well-known Member
Hi Guys,

I would be grateful if people could offer up any opinions on what they think is the better course of action for my upcoming predicament. Peoples experience stories of a similar nature are also welcome.

Basically the company I work for is relocating down south, well further south than where I live now. The company has decided to centralise which makes sense and have all the engineering guys in one place. In order to do this a great deal of people are going to have to move. the company has stated that anyone outside of a certain travelling time from the new office will have the option of either relocation or redundancy.

Just to add a little context I'm mid thirties with 15 years engineering experience covering aircraft and rail and I have an engineering degree to back it up. I'm not married or have children and aside from my mortgage I'm debt free.

So, going with the first option, I would have to move further south. An area which would almost be affordable is about a 30 minute commute from the new office and probably an hour and ten from where I live now. Obviously no one wants to move house, I for one don't like the idea of being away from friends and family. But it does mean I get to stay in a job and there may even be an opportunity to progress due to the amount of people flat out refusing to go. My concerns are that I currently live in a little 3 bed detached which I love, moving may mean I don't get the same standard of living, i would have to move to a smaller house and probably increase my mortgage. The company has offered to pay lawyers, estate agents, stamp duty, removals and chuck in a small token of appreciation (grand or two). I'm lucky in that I don't have kids or a partner to worry about but at the same point I don't want to be sat in some house completely alone and depressed. The area I am looking at is an hour and ten down the road from where I live now, so its not a million miles away, but it is a big psychological thing.

The second option is to take redundancy. Under my current arrangements this would involve me getting 6 months notice followed by approximately 18 grand tax free. Now if I were able to walk straight into another job it means I get to stay where I am (location) and have a nice sum to invest, the flip side is not being able to walk into another job, in which case I could probably make the money last a year if I lived carefully. Even though we are in troubled times I am still seeing people walking into other positions relatively quickly. Having spoke to a few they often remark that it a good thing as it pushed them to try other jobs and careers.

So, do you go with the rock or the hard place?

I still need to get a few facts together such as what options do I have to adjust mortgage repayments should I go down the redundancy route. I'm sure there is load of other stuff I have forgotten as well.
 

RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
Maybe a start would be a trawl of the job sites to see what demand there is currently for your skills. You need to be ruthless in matching your skills to the stated requirements because although you may well be able to do something outside of your qualifications, employers & particularly agencies are only interested in their requirements. And in this market they can afford to.
 

blasted

Well-known Member
I've started to have a look, but if I were to go down the new job route then I would have to wait until I was put on notice before making any applications to ensure that I don't lose the payout. Getting a new job is the hard part as you quite clearly point out.
 

campy mccamper

Well-known Member
Are there other people are being made redundant as the same skill set as your own? I made the mistake of taking redundancy back in 2009, giving up a 30k+ a year job for 6.5k. There were jobs out there in our line of work just not for all 35 of us who were made redundant.
 

blasted

Well-known Member
Valid point, There are quite a few in our sector. A number of those will be retiring but there will obviously be some competition. The advantage is that I am younger and have a wider base of skills, whilst they are much more specialist and older. I'm not age bashing as some of the older chaps are incredible engineers who I could still learn a lot from, I'm looking at it from a prospective employers point of view.
 

mjn

Distinguished Member
Why not stay, and do the 1 hr 10 min commute?
 

Miss Mandy

Moderator
I've got potential redundancy looming in January and I'm scared out of my mind. I live fairly comfortably at the moment so I've managed to put a small chunk of savings away, but my redundancy payout will only be around £4k.
I'm torn between applying for the new role in my current work place or taking the money and hoping for the best. Its a choice between a job that I would absolutely hate and would really stress me out or potentially being unemployed.
There are always loads of jobs around my way particularly as I'm quite close to an airport, but there are also loads of people applying for these jobs. I'm worried I don't have anything that's going to make me stand out from the crowd.
 

SevloW

Distinguished Member
I would stick with the job, a 1-1/2 hour each way commute is not that bad at all in my experience. Doing that you will still be in your comfort zone in your house with family and friends around you.
 

jenam93

Well-known Member
I think I would move and stay in the job rather than risk being unemployed in the current financial climate.
 

blasted

Well-known Member
I think there is a little confusion over the commute times.

Currently I am outside of the acceptable travelling time for the new office (1 hour 15 minutes), as I am outside of this time I have to relocate to within an acceptable radius (1 hour) or take redundancy.

If I relocate, the area I am looking at is 1 hour 10 from where I live now but 30 minutes from the new office. The new area is in-between where I am now and where I would be working.

@Miss Mandy, it is a horrible thing to have hanging over your head. I've found that talking about it with other people does help as it often throws up things I didn't think about (some good some bad). The worst bit for me is having it hanging over my head and not having any clear information. Try not worry to much, easier said than done I know.
 

fizl

Well-known Member
But why do you have to be within an acceptable radius? As long as you are happy to do the commute, is there a problem? Or do they pay you mileage or something

Shaz
 

mjn

Distinguished Member
Even 1hr 15min isn't that bad......how come the company dictates how far from the office you can live?

Are you on-call?
 

blasted

Well-known Member
Its a tool that the company has decided its going to use and one that the unions are arguing against. They have stated that they don't want people commuting 2 hours then doing a days work on top. It doesn't matter that a great deal of people do a tremendous amount of commuting already. The lower level people have to be within 60 minutes of the new office and the higher levels 75 minutes. If you are outside those limits then you either relocate or leave the company. If you do relocate you have to be within 60 minutes of the new location regardless of level. There are offices much farther north than mine that are going to be seriously affected.

The cynical side of me would say that this way they expect a lot of people not to relocate, typically the older more expensive and skilled people with the final salary pensions. If they don't go then they can recruit cheaply in the new area. It doesn't matter that we would be losing a massive amount of skill sets which are not easily replaceable and which could affect the travelling public's safety, oh well when the next big disaster occurs we can always say sorry and promise not to do it again.
 

unique

Moderator
Its a tool that the company has decided its going to use and one that the unions are arguing against. They have stated that they don't want people commuting 2 hours then doing a days work on top. It doesn't matter that a great deal of people do a tremendous amount of commuting already. The lower level people have to be within 60 minutes of the new office and the higher levels 75 minutes. If you are outside those limits then you either relocate or leave the company. If you do relocate you have to be within 60 minutes of the new location regardless of level. There are offices much farther north than mine that are going to be seriously affected.

The cynical side of me would say that this way they expect a lot of people not to relocate, typically the older more expensive and skilled people with the final salary pensions. If they don't go then they can recruit cheaply in the new area. It doesn't matter that we would be losing a massive amount of skill sets which are not easily replaceable and which could affect the travelling public's safety, oh well when the next big disaster occurs we can always say sorry and promise not to do it again.

so it's all in writing that you have to take redundancy if you don't live within 60 minutes? there is no leeway at all, bearing in mind its just 15 mins more for you?

and what does your current contract say, and do they intend to change contracts? are they going to stop people moving home outwith 60 minutes after the relocation? how will they measure the travelling times for each person? what happens if you relocated and then later moved home to somewhere that was 15 minutes further away? would that be a breach of contract and you could be dismissed? it doesn't sound like the type of fair contractual obligation that could stand up in court. likewise it could potential be unfair redundancy if they were to make you redundant just because of 15 minutes longer travel time to work

i suggest you discuss this both with ACAS and your union rep. of course for redundancy to occur they will need to consult with you, so you will have the opportunity to raise these questions. perhaps they can accomodate you

it's only about 45 minutes extra travel time to get to work than before. to keep a job with prospects, and a home you like, and friends and family around you, it's not that bad. i've worked both near and far from jobs and didn't like the prospect of longer travelling, but you get used to it after a few weeks or months

it has also been touched upon an important point that if many people are leaving the current workplace, your area will have an increased amount of people looking for the same or similar work as yourself, with less available work. i've seen that situation a number of times before. you advertise an available post and get deluged with applicants and here the same story that places are closing down and there is nowhere for existing staff to go, so they are all struggling to compete for the few jobs that may come up. also, after being in a particular field for such a long time, it's harder for someone to give you a chance to change profession as many will consider you to be set in a specific way. that is the downside to sticking with the same employer and/or profession for a long time
 

RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
The advantage is that I am younger...
That could actually work against you. Employers like those in steady relationships, with kids & a big mortgage. They are far less likely to refuse extra work at short notice or other unreasonable demands. Of course that's a sweeping generalisation but something to consider.

Unique's advice to contact ACAS regarding the travelling stipulation is sound. As he says, unless they are paying your mileage or travelling time it sounds unenforceable to me. There must be tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of people doing similar or longer commutes into London every day.
 

blasted

Well-known Member
Some very good points being raised,

To clarify the travelling to work situation.

The company has stated that they are using the AA route finder as a basis for travel times.

Using that, the travel time from where I live now to the new location is 1hr 37 minutes, outside of the allowed 90 minutes (I'm in the higher level) lower level people are only allowed 75 minutes. The maximum was 75 minutes and 60 minutes respectively but with 15 minutes leeway.

So if you are outside of the 90/75 minutes you either leave or relocate. If you relocate you need to be within 60 minutes of the new office.

If you leave or move afterwards you will have to pay back any assistance they have given you. There is probably a load more ifs and buts that still need to be ironed out.

Now if I do relocate I have seen a place that is 1hr 10 from where I live now, but only 30 minutes from the new office. My standard of living would be reduced by the fact that I would have to get a smaller house and increase the amount of debt I have (mortgage)

As this is being done for a lot of people the unions are still talking it through. The move will be going ahead though.
 

Miss Mandy

Moderator
It sounds like the new area you'd have to move to would have a higher cost of living and you'll be getting less property for your money as well. What's you're travel time to the current office? Are you going to find that the 30 minutes to the new office from the new house is also going to increase costs?
To me there would be nothing worse than relocating away from friends and family to be able to keep the job, but then not being able to get back and see them regularly because of costs.

Thanks for the support by the way. Lots of discussions going on with friends and family at the moment, but so far everyone is supportive of me and will help where ever they can if I get redundancy and struggle for work for a while.
 

blasted

Well-known Member
I currently commute 30 minutes to my existing office so no real change in time or cost there.

I would try and not worry about what you don't know, as one chap says in our office "turn up, take the money, go home" a rather simple way of looking at things, but he's essentially saying deal with what's happening now, not in the future. It stops me worrying too much.

Stay positive and treat things as an opportunity.
 

unique

Moderator
Some very good points being raised,

To clarify the travelling to work situation.

The company has stated that they are using the AA route finder as a basis for travel times.

Using that, the travel time from where I live now to the new location is 1hr 37 minutes, outside of the allowed 90 minutes (I'm in the higher level) lower level people are only allowed 75 minutes. The maximum was 75 minutes and 60 minutes respectively but with 15 minutes leeway.

So if you are outside of the 90/75 minutes you either leave or relocate. If you relocate you need to be within 60 minutes of the new office.

If you leave or move afterwards you will have to pay back any assistance they have given you. There is probably a load more ifs and buts that still need to be ironed out.

Now if I do relocate I have seen a place that is 1hr 10 from where I live now, but only 30 minutes from the new office. My standard of living would be reduced by the fact that I would have to get a smaller house and increase the amount of debt I have (mortgage)

As this is being done for a lot of people the unions are still talking it through. The move will be going ahead though.

so you are outwith a 90 minute made up limit by 7 minutes, which is less than 10%, and they expect you to take redundancy for the sake of 7 minutes and consider that fair

do you think that's fair?

and do you think a tribunal would consider it fair that someone is being made redundant from a job they have worked at for how many years for the sake of 7 minutes per day?

this is the kind of question you should address formally in writing and request a written formal answer during the course of your redundancy/relocation consultation
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
unique's suggestion to put carefully formulated questions to clarify the questions you have before deciding on your next move is one you should follow. On a general level I would ask how this travelling time has been formulated and does it take into account train vs private car? An educated guess would say it is just an averaged figure just as typical employers would use the same generic formula to pay travel expenses.

On the other aspect, it is only ever personal but I moved across the country for both uni and then work. Not sure I necessarily follow a previous poster talking about commitments. Sometimes someone will accept sacrifices if they have a mortgage and kids to feed. Conversely singletons are not necessarily party animals (for want of a better phrase). In fact for the purposes of relocation, I would have thought it would be much more clear cut not having commitments versus having a family in tow
 

blasted

Well-known Member
No I don't think its fair at all and neither do a lot of other people. Its a system they have introduced as a way of threshing through people. There are people who have already moved down to the office who still commute from back here. There are people I know commuting up to 2 hours each way in other parts of the country. We recently had to fill out an expression of interest which asked both road and rail times. The time had to include time to walk from car to work and any waiting times at stations, time from car park to station ect. The answers to which were to be used to calculate what support if any was going to be offered.

The whole process keeps getting dragged further back with no one having any clear answers, whilst the date for moving stays put. Everyone is in the dark. Its a sad way for a large country wide company employing some 35000 people to behave. On top of that there is no guarantee that when you get there you won't be shuffled out in a reorganisation 2 months after you move.

Until I get to sit with HR and get firm answers its very difficult for me to make any decisions. I agree that I need formulated questions prepped for the meeting (when ever it happens).

It can't be right that a company can move you and expect you to drop your standard of living and take on more debt for the sake of keeping your job can it? In my eyes they are forcing me to leave which would be constructive dismissal.
 

Rasczak

Distinguished Member
What's the house rental market like in old and new location? If it is reasonable then this might give you some more options...

For example, depending upon the details of the relocation package and how much equity you have in your current house, you could always fully re-mortgage and rent out your current house whilst buying a small flat in the new location. This would mean a reduced standard of life for a short period but, once the dust has settled, you will be able to review your options and either commence 'long distance' commuting from your original house whilst selling/renting your new flat or sell-up completely and buy in the new location.

With the economy as it is, personally I would say now is not the time to be without a job. Good luck with whatever you decide anyway.
 

nheather

Distinguished Member
Are they offering an assisted relocation?

When my wife had to move from Cheshire to Sussex she was offered a package where they valued our house in Cheshire, bought it off us and then valued a similar house in Sussex. They paid the difference in the mortgage over 5 years reducing their contribution by 20% each year.

On top of that they covered the usual expenses, removeals, stamp duty, solicitor's fees etc.

If they are doing this (and I appreciate that it was a good scheme that she got) it is an excellent opportunity to move up the housing ladder.

Cheers,

Nigel
 

blasted

Well-known Member
@imightbewrong, I happen to work out on site occasionally, some of our guys are out up to 3 days a week but will still have to move or leave.

@Rasczak, I agree that times are hard, but there are still jobs out there. Renting is one option open and a way I could keep my existing house.

@nheather, the relocation package will be the bare minimum, estate agents, stamp duty and lawyers plus a token gesture for a set of curtains.
 

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