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Significant changes to job did not result in redundancy

Significant changes to job did not result in redundancy

Changes were made to the terms and conditions of employment of the Society’s financial advisers, which it tried to achieve through variation by agreement with USDAW, the recognised trade union. When that failed, the Society terminated the contracts of the employees for some other substantial reason and offered them new contracts on different terms. In all, 123 advisers were dismissed. All claimed they had been made redundant as their previous job no longer existed and were entitled to a contractual redundancy payment.

The EAT upheld the tribunal’s decision that while there were significant changes to the way in which the job was to be carried out, those changes did not mean the advisers would be performing a different kind of job. The tribunal had carefully assessed the evidence and their judgment made it plain that they were fully alive to the arguments being advanced by the claimants. But ultimately they rejected them because the essence of the job – selling insurance – remained the same. On the facts, they were fully entitled to reach the conclusion that the changes in the method of performing the job, including removing most of the regular links with clients, did not justify an inference that the previous job had ceased and that a redundancy situation existed.

Martland and others v Co-operative Insurance Society Limited
Sculley and others v Co-operative Insurance Society Limited
UKEAT/0220/07 and UKEAT/0221/07

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