Thursday, 27 March 2008

Hundreds Unfairly Dismissed in Vodafone’s Secret Sackings

The dust is settling on last Tuesdays announcement by Vodafone that 450 Newbury based staff would be made redundant. In a feat of news management that Alastair Campbell would have been proud of the company took the opportunity to further reduce staffing levels by summarily dismissing hundreds throughout the UK in secret.

Employees were dragged into offices and told their employment had been terminated before been stripped of their mobile phone, company badge, and were then escorted from the premises.

Many of those who were targeted were the kind of people who lived and breathed Vodafone. Cut them in half and they would bleed red. But this would be far too humane for the company.

This was not part of any disciplinary process, no right of appeal or accompaniment was granted and no redundancy payment was forthcoming. Not only is this action contrary to Vodafone’s own documented policy, it is against UK employment law. This is acknowledged by the company as they offered small cash incentives to the individuals in return for signing an agreement not to take the company to an employment tribunal, or speak out about the way they have been treated.

Vodafone have demonstrated that they do not think that employment law applies to them. They also think they can get away with acting in this way without people finding out. There has been no communications to staff suggesting an explanation of this behaviour. Workers do speak each other and it was inevitable that it would only take a short time before it became clear that these sacking were systematic.

A culture of fear has been created.


Anonymous said...

So, the question would be what exactly the union representing the members dismissed from RO are able to do about this situation.

If it's so clear-cut that unlawful action has been taken by Vodafone then industrial action should be simple, regardless of what they signed.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like BS, in part at least. Vodafone, for it's many flaws, is usually very generious with redundancy payouts and the people at risk are certainly happy to take the money and run.

Anonymous said...

While VF used to be generous, that's certainly not the case these days. I think it's entirely likely that this did happen, but what rights do we have against contract terminations?

Anonymous said...

Not quite hundreds but 25. VF not exactly generous with the offers to shut up and go quietly, but then isn't it funny they all took the offers and went? If VF offered voluntary redundancy today they'd get trampled in the rush!