If you are facing redundancy it is important you get organised. You should talk to your co-workers and organise a meeting as soon as possible. If necessary meet outside to ensure social distancing. If your workplace is unionised you should contact your union branch. You should also collect phone numbers and other contact details of your co-workers. It is important that everyone keeps in touch throughout the dispute, so consider setting up a WhatsApp group or something similar. Remember, your employer will try to divide you by getting you to compete for any jobs that may be available. Be positive from the outset, stress the need for unity constantly and focus on the failing of the employer.
Get to know your rights
The redundancy process can be quite complex so make sure you have a basic understanding of the procedure and make sure your boss adheres to the law. But remember that employment laws in the UK are feeble. Legally your employer can pretty much make you redundant just as long as they follow a “fair” redundancy process. Similarly, only those who have been employed for over 2 years are entitled to statutory redundancy pay. Under the law casual workers, such as most people on zero-hours contracts, have few rights when it comes to redundancy.
The legal requirements your boss must follow, therefore, should only be seen as a starting point to your campaign. If you are going to win, you are going to have to do much more than ensuring that your employer adheres to employment laws on redundancy.
You can find a basic introduction to the laws on redundancy here:
Get to know everything about your employer
You need to know as much about your employer as possible; for example, how much profit they make, how much they earn, how many homes they own, what type of car they drive and so on. Demand that your employer opens their books so you can examine their finances. The injustice of an employer or director awash with money, while their workers are thrown on the scrapheap, can act as a powerful emotional driving force in your fight against redundancies, so gather information about your employer’s business.
Get a clear idea of what you want and organise democratically
Your aims can vary according to your circumstances but from the outset you need to have a clear idea of what you hope to achieve in your fight against your bosses. Without a clear aim your campaign will lack direction. You need a clear idea of what you want and a plan of how you are going to achieve your aims.
You also need to organise in a democratic and inclusive way. Getting everyone involved and reaching a decision by consensus, with everyone having their say, is the best way to run a dynamic, effective campaign against redundancies. You will fail if only a small number of people get involved and take part in any planned actions.
Always hold a meeting prior to any meeting with your bosses.
Organise a campaign
You need a campaign plan. This should start with what sort of action you can take as workers. One of the most effective actions you can take is an occupation of your workplace. Occupying your workplace will act as a dramatic focal point, attracting enormous attention and piling pressure on your bosses. Occupations also draw in outside support; for example, in the past, outside supporters have often supplied food, drink, toiletries etc. to workers occupying their workplaces.
If you are not in a position to occupy, there is still plenty you can do. Organise regular protests or pickets outside your workplace. Produce t-shirts, stickers and badges and begin to wear them to work. Organise noisy, highly visible protest marches, consider occupying the road, organise slow moving car cavalcades near your workplace or bosses’ homes. Occupy or protest outside other buildings or workplaces owned by your employer. Target shareholder meetings or other events run by your employer. Organise boycotts of your workplace and any other businesses owned by your employer.
Make sure your plans include ways to attract publicity. Organise a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Put together a regular press release and send them to newspapers and online news sources. Contact radio and TV stations, provide information and offer to do interviews. Give out leaflets on busy high streets and outside workplaces.
You also need a plan of how you will build support outside of your immediate workplace. Make a list of friends and relatives who are willing to help support your campaign and invite them to meetings and think of other ways to get them involved. Contact union branches and union offices, left wing and radical groups, community groups and any other groups who you feel might be sympathetic to your campaign. Do not rely on emails, always try to speak to people face to face or failing that, by phone. Provide focal points for outside supporters, such as demos, pickets and boycotts.
Do not let the politicians off the hook. Bombard them with information about your dispute and your demands. Occupy local council offices or organise protests and pickets outside MPs surgeries. Do not let politicians fob you off with empty messages of support, demand concrete action from them. If your local politicians refuse to support your campaign make sure everyone gets to know about it.
Regularly review your campaign and constantly look for new ways of increasing its effectiveness. If your boss comes up with an offer, hold a meeting to decide if you want to accept or reject the offer.