My Union Helped Me in Redundancy: A Case Study
For years trade unions have played a pivotal role in disputes between employers and their employees. Unions act at the forefront of any dispute and can fight your cause often free of charge, as long as you are a member.
Joanne was working as a teacher at a school in the Midlands. The school had been underachieving and Joanne knew there was a risk of redundancy. She was only new to the school and wasn’t sure if she would be entitled to any redundancy pay.
Seeking Help With Redundancy“I had joined my teacher’s union while I was training to be a teacher, not all professional sectors have trade unions that fight their corner, so I felt privileged to be able to join a union.
“When I started work the thought of being made redundant did not cross my mind. I had not prepared for what I would do if I was made redundant. I conjured up images of being able to stay in my job for at least ten years, so to be faced with the realisation that I could be made redundant was an unfortunate tumble back into reality,” says Joanne.
“I assumed that because I was so new to the job that if I was made redundant I would walk away with nothing and I would have to rely on my parents for financial help. The thought of being made redundant so new into my career was disheartening and made me lose faith in my ability to teach,” says Joanne
Two Heads Are Better Than OneJoanne was not the only one that was concerned about her future. A few of her colleagues had contacted their union to see if they could lend a hand or anything could be done to save their job and help with redundancy pay.
“Our union came to visit the school and embarked on a range of heated discussion with the school’s officials. The school was proposing up to 40 redundancies, on our own we could not challenge this but with the weight of the union behind us our chances improved,” says Joanne.
“The union was locked in discussion with the school officials for a number of weeks. They were not fighting for me individually but they were fighting to lower the number of redundancies, which gave me hope that some jobs, including mine could be saved,” says Joanne.
Help With RedundancyIn the end the union was able to save around ten jobs, unfortunately for Joanne though her job had been made redundant.
“Once the cull was over a rep from the union spoke to us about what we were entitled to in terms of redundancy pay and they fought to get us as much as possible. It was nice to have somebody to be able to turn to for advice and speak about my options,” says Joanne.
Joanne did receive some money from her employers when she left. She was able to find a new teaching job relatively soon after being made redundant and she made sure she maintained part of her union after all the help they had given her.Unions are not a miracle cure when it comes to redundancy but they can play a key role in discussion and disputes between you and your employer. If you have the chance to join a union you should seize the opportunity and sign up.