Business leaders need to consider smarter alternatives to redundancy such as secondment, says the TUC which is taking part in a debate with employers today.
The TUC says 632,000 employees were made redundant in the past twelve months, an increase of 7.5 per cent on the previous year. It fears that many of those being made redundant are not finding their way back into the labour market, with the number of job seekers currently outnumbering vacancies by over five to one.
The TUC says UK businesses rely upon "dated" redundancy policies, "which not only inflict massive social costs on employees and the economy and waste skills and training investment".
Speaking at the event, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber says: “Too many businesses adopt a knee-jerk reaction to cost management. Making redundancies is not the only option, nor is it the most efficient in the longer-term.
“We need to concentrate on finding alternatives that could avoid the huge waste of people and skills, and help businesses better respond to the upturn when it comes. These could include negotiating to share out the existing work more fairly and using creative solutions like sharing and seconding staff.
“There will still be times when redundancy is inevitable, but it should be the final option, not the first. All too often annual profits are aggressively managed simply to avoid taxation, rather than looking for smarter ways to reinvest into the workforce that created them.”
The Redundancy Isn't Working debate, sponsored by StaffShare, will take place between 12.30pm and 3pm at Congress House in central London.
Brendan Barber, ACAS Chief Executive John Taylor and David Lennan, former Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce and founding Director of StaffShare, will speak. David Lennon says:“When employers say that there are no real alternatives to redundancy, I suggest secondment to other companies. The use of staff secondment is just one of the fundamental changes employers can and should make to change the way they manage their businesses and treat their most valuable assets - their employees.
“It is also an ideal way of increasing staff skills and retaining them, while reducing costs. Until recently, secondment was not generally practised by ‘unconnected employers’ because of matching difficulties and complex administration. This has now changed and secondment is today a real and viable alternative to unemployment.”
Other panellists include John Duncan, Group HR Director at the Royal Mail; Sir Steve Bullock, Chair of the Workforce Board at the Local Government Association, and Sarah Anderson CBE, Chair of Call Britannia.