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Armed Forced Cuts - lessons for employers

01 September 2011 #Employment

Defence Secretary Liam Fox has been defending cuts to the armed forces which will reportedly see around 12,000 jobs being cut from the Army and RAF combined.  This week alone 930 RAF and 920 Army personnel are being told that they will be made redundant.

The political parties are typically each blaming eachother for the redundancies, the Government effectively says it inherited a mess and the Shadow Defence Secretary says the cuts go too far and are the result of a rushed defence review.  The Government have hit back that cuts now will strengthen Britain`s defence capability later in the decade.

Perhaps such public spats and changing approaches to the management of the armed forces are having an impact on morale - according to the BBC website more forces personnel have volunteered for redundancy than have been accepted. 870 soldiers volunteered with only 660 accepted and in the RAF the figures were 620 and 440 respectively.

Employers implementing redundancies often have similar rationale to that applied by Liam Fox - streamline now to strengthen in future and this is sensible.  However, employers usually don`t have the luxury of blaming the previous incumbant or knowing that someone else might be forced to deal with the consequences of their actions, so morale and consistent long-term planning can`t be ignored. 

There are lessons employers can learn from this:

  • don`t rush to redundancies.  Take the time to formulate your business plans and strategies so you have a clear idea of the changes needed and the reason for them, this will help with consultation
  • prepare a sensible project plan, follow guidance and, if over 20 redundancies at one estalishment, follow the rules on collective redundancies to avoid significant awards
  • listen to employees - those exiting AND those staying.  Managing exits well is less likely to lead to claims and listening to those who remain will help morale
  • Ask for volunteers where appropriate and, if requests are high, either the package is very good(!) or you should look at morale
Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Employment matter please contact Clarkslegal's employment team by email at by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.
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