Redundancies and Divestment of CAEL Team
Redundancies at Slater & Gordon
The ASU has been made aware of a number of redundancies across the Victorian Slater & Gordon offices over the last few weeks. Initially these redundancies affected one or two roles in a particular practice area, but as time has passed the ASU has become aware that initial figures given to us by Slater & Gordon management on redundancies are much lower than the actual number of job losses.
The ASU has raised this concern with Slater & Gordon and has recently received commitment from HR that this poor communication will not occur again and that proposed redundancies will be communicated in full as soon as proposed changes are confirmed. In the last two weeks at least 8 roles within Victoria have been made redundant affecting the Union Services, Facilities, Mailroom and General Administration areas of the business.
The ASU has been contacted by a number of our members in these areas seeking representation and assistance with the consultation process and their options regarding redundancy. The ASU reminds all our members at this time that a redundancy letter is a proposal and triggers an obligation for Slater & Gordon to consult with you and your chosen representative about the change and what options exist for you. Slater & Gordon must consult with you in a genuine and meaningful way, giving appropriate consideration to your views, questions and preferences during the consultation period. The consultation period cannot be artificially limited to 10 days if genuine questions arise and we expect that Slater & Gordon will provide adequate opportunity to our members to raise concerns and seek representation from the ASU if desired.
Slater & Gordon must provide affected workers with alternatives to redundancy where possible such as redeployment, relocation, job share, training, upskilling and any other relevant option or suggestion that becomes available. Members are advised not to simply accept a redundancy if they do not wish to take one and to instead seek the assistance of the ASU. The ASU represents workers at Slater & Gordon, however we can only assist financial members of the Union when it comes to negotiating redundancies and navigating the various concerns you may have with this process.
Divestment of CAEL team at Slater & Gordon
The ASU became aware of proposed changes taking place within the CAEL team when members first began to hear from their Practice Group Leaders that the Commercial and Estate Litigation teams may be divested from Slater & Gordon which may lead to job losses. Our members were naturally stressed by these discussions as they appeared to take place without much official notice or written communication from the firm. Slater & Gordon contacted the ASU some weeks ago, advising that high level discussions had taken place, but no decisions had actually taken affect hence there was no further detail to provide. Slater & Gordon management expressed some regret about the way the news broke and advised that once there was more definite news, that employees would be informed. The same afternoon, a meeting was held for employees to advise them no decisions had been officially made.
This afternoon, employees in the CAEL team have been advised that the proposed divestment will in fact go ahead with Commercial Litigation being taken to another existing firm and Estate Litigation to be divested and established as a separate new firm by the current Practice Group Leaders who will become the new owners.
The ASU has been informed this decision affects 10 roles at the moment and that a consultation period has commenced for these employees.
The ASU has many questions regarding the divestment of the CAEL team and we have already heard many concerning comments from our members about the options for redundancy and redeployment. The ASU will be writing to Slater & Gordon with our questions and will seek to have these answered in full as soon as possible. The ASU is particularly concerned at statements to the effect that workers that do not wish to accept a redeployment will not receive a redundancy. Some of our members have already expressed that they do not wish to be redeployed to alternative practice areas that they are unfamiliar with and would prefer a redundancy.
If you work in these teams and require assistance please contact your ASU delegate or Organiser immediately.
We will seek to hold an online members meeting for those affected by redundancies over the next few days, members will be notified of the details of the meeting in due course.
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For any questions please contact your ASU delegates Alex Blennerhassett, Lindsay Jones, Laura Blandthorn, Idil Mohamud, Robert Auricchio, Patricia Hanjin, Cassandra Kilfoyle, Alex Walsgott, Ruby Haynes or alternatively contact your ASU Organiser Sarah Haar at firstname.lastname@example.org