Following the unexpected closure of the infamous News of the World newspaper, some 200 journalists will find themselves out of work after being told they would receive a 90-day payment in lieu of a consultation.
The Sunday paper, in existence for 168 years and bought by Rupert Murdoch in 1969, was brought into disrepute after allegations of phone-hacking and paying police for information about stories were made against it.
The National Union of Journalists claim the payment is merely an "act of damage limitation". They said: "This outrageous manipulation of the legal right to be consulted on redundancies shows the contempt that the Murdoch empire has for its loyal staff. True to form, he believes he can buy his way out of his obligations."
UK employment law states that if a company plans to make 100 or more redundancies within a 90-day period, they must hold collective consultations with staff or union representatives. No dismissal may take place within the 90-day period.
By making a payment in lieu of a consultation, the News of the World could be breaching employment laws: companies are not permitted to make hundreds of people redundant without consultation.
Unless employees are offered alternative jobs within the company, they could bring claims for unfair dismissal.
With the sister newspaper The Sun becoming a Sunday newspaper, there may be the potential for staff to be entitled to transfer to that paper under TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment).
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