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Council sacks workers by picking names out of a cereal bowl

BY Daniel Gorry
Employment Law & HR
BG Purple

Edinburgh City Council has recently come under fire for implementing an unconventional redundancy selection process.

In a bid to make budget cuts, the Council decided to sack seven out of a pool of thirteen agency street cleaners.  Management initiated the process by using a standard scoring matrix where each worker was graded on performance. As a result, four of the cleaners were selected for redundancy; however, managers could not decide on the remaining three.  

After apparently consulting with and seeking agreement from staff, management decided that the best way to differentiate between the workers was by picking names out of a bowl. As one worker described it, "it was like they were picking lots for the Grand National". Another worker complained that it was “just humiliating”.  

However, another member of staff denies that there was any consultation and said "we were just called in for a meeting and told what was going to happen”. As a result of staff dissatisfaction with the random selection, the workers were re-instated pending a more conventional selection process.  

This case emphasises the need for employers to adopt a fair redundancy process including the application of fair and objective selection criteria.  

LAW is on hand to help employers facing redundancy situations and our experienced legal advisers will help guide you through the entire process.


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