Grassroots collective power was out in full force recently, as an IEU School Chapter rallied around a support staff member being made redundant; the staff member ended up successfully being redeployed to another position as well as receiving full redundancy entitlements.
The member in question had worked at the school for almost 20 years when the employer notified them of the redundancy.
They contacted our union immediately for assistance with navigating the redundancy process and their IEU School Chapter for local-level support.
IEU Industrial Services Officer Michael Featherstone said accessing the expert advice and guidance of our union and their School Chapter ensured the member was best placed to navigate the redundancy process.
“After examining the case we found there was some ambiguity around why this member in particular had been chosen out of their working group for the redundancy,” said Michael.
“When there is a genuine redundancy, there needs to be formal consultation with all possible affected employees and our union as well as justification for the proposed redundancy.
“Alternatives to minimise the effects on employees should be considered, such as calling for voluntary redundancies or redeployment.
“After questioning this with the employer, they then offered our member a redeployment option for a position on a lower salary as well as a partial redundancy.
“Our union places members at the centre of any support, so after consulting with the affected member about what the best possible outcome would look like, we continued negotiations with the employer around redeployment and the redundancy package.
“What made a massive difference in this case was the advocacy and support of the member’s IEU School Chapter.
“At the local level, they made sure the employer knew the school community expected them to uphold their core values and treat employees with respect and dignity.
“The employer ended up offering the redeployment in addition to full redundancy entitlements which is an extraordinary outcome for all involved,” said Michael.
What to do when there’s talk of redundancy?
Redundancy or major workplace change can be a challenging process for members, particularly if they have not gone through, or supported anyone else through, the process before.
This is why our union is here – we are experts in ensuring that employers meet their legal obligations and employees understand and receive their legal entitlements.
At the first sign of major change in your workplace – particularly when there’s talk of redundancy, restructure of significant changes to positions – members should immediately contact our union for support and specialised advice.
Our Industrial Team will be able to determine ,for example, whether it is a genuine redundancy or if employers are trying to implement a redundancy by stealth.
Local IEU School Chapters and Chapter Representatives can also make this process easier for affected members by providing support at the school level – as in this case, active members and strong Chapters can make a world of difference by ensuring employers are upholding collective agreements as well as workplace values.
What are my entitlements?
Employers need to adequately notify and consult with the affected employee/s and our union about the redundancy.
At a minimum, the notification needs to address:
- The number of employees and the area, department or team affected;
- The nature of the proposed change and the potential effects on employees;
- The status of the employer’s considerations;
- The likely timeframes; and
- The potential options to mitigate the impact of the change or entitlements available to employees.
Members can contact us for specialist advice and support via firstname.lastname@example.org or via FREECALL 1800 177 937 (QLD) or 1800 351 996 (NT).