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Don’t be Like P&O! The Do’s and Don’ts of Making Redundancies


With the news full of stories surrounding P&O Ferries’ decision to make almost 800 of their staff redundant with immediate effect, we set out below the key do’s and don’ts for when you’re considering making redundancies.


  1. Get the underlying reason for the redundancies right first. Is a workplace closing? Is there a reduced need for a certain type of job? Identifying the underlying reason is the most important step of any redundancy process.
  2. Work out how many individuals are affected from the start. There are special rules which come into play if you’re looking to make 20 or more people redundant in a 90-day period.
  3. Explore alternatives to redundancy. This is crucial to a fair consultation process. For example, are there any other vacancies available? Can you offer a reduced role? A job share?
  4. Use an objective selection criteria. For example, you should score based on appraisal ratings, level of qualifications, disciplinary records etc, and not on subjective factors.
  5. Confirm the final decision at a hearing and in writing. Explaining the decision in detail and giving a right of appeal. Best to avoid a pre-recorded video messages like P&O!


  1. Say anything to pre-empt the outcome. The worst thing you can do is give staff the impression that the redundancy decision has already been made.
  2. Cut corners with the consultation. The way to make a redundancy a fair redundancy is by showing that you’ve consulted properly with the individuals affected. This means giving them enough opportunities to discuss any ways of saving their jobs.
  3. Apply the ‘first in first out’ approach to redundancy selection. This can place younger staff at a disadvantage and expose you to the risk of discrimination claims.
  4. Forget about those on family leave. For example, when faced with redundancy, those on maternity leave have a right to be offered alternatives roles above those who are not.
  5. Forget notice periods. Even after you’ve consulted with individuals about their redundancies, at the point of confirming redundancy, you’ll still need to serve those individuals with their notice periods. Alternatively, you might be able to pay them in lieu of notice if their contracts allow it.

If you need any advice on redundancy, please contact Fiona Sinclair on [email protected] or 02920 829 103 for a free initial conversation to see how they can help.