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Annie Hayes

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I&C legislation leaves UK Plc in crisis

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The Information and Consultation Regulations will be introduced into UK law on 6 April 2005 but despite facing potential fines of up to £75,000 businesses are far from ready to meet the new obligations.

Latest research conducted by Croner reveals that 74% of employees are not aware of new rights to be consulted on major employment issues in the workplace despite 76% of those polled in the YouGov survey expressing their desire to voice their opinion about major changes at work.

After 6 April, companies with 150 or more employees must act upon an employee request to be informed and consulted on major employment issues. The request must be made by at least 10% of employees in the organisation (subject to a minimum of 15 employees and a maximum of 2,500 employees). The legislation will include companies with 100 or more employees in April 2007, and those with 50 or more in April 2008.

Croner is advising employers to use the introduction of the new legislation as an opportunity to look at how they can achieve best practice by improving the way they communicate with their employees, which could ultimately lead to a more productive and competitive business.

Andrew Auld, HR development manager at Croner said: “Even some of the largest corporates have been criticised for failing to communicate properly with employees on issues as serious as redundancy. But the new Information & Consultation law means they now have a legal right to collectively demand to be involved in such decisions.

“And with our survey revealing the vast majority of employees want the opportunity to air their views, employers are best advised to set up proactive channels of communication whereby staff have an opportunity to collectively express opinions on major company developments, and through which employers can communicate with them.”

Auld warns that slack employers who allow rumours of redundancy or restructure to be aired on TV or radio before communicating the news to employees will see their names ‘dragged through the media mud’.

When similar sentiments were tested last October, the Involvement and Participation Association found that 90% of businesses were yet to address the issue.

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Annie Hayes

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