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Hi Guys, need some advice/help if poss - I have several issues/questions so I will try and keep brief initially and ask away if you need anything I havnt put in.

 

Could also do with knowing if ACAS/Tribunal or employing a solicitor is the best way to go?

 

My son has been an engineering apprentice since September 2011 - it is a 3 year apprentice and was due to be completed July 2014. He does have a signed Apprenticeship Agreement. He attended college one day a week.

 

On 22/08 (after a day off to attend a family funeral) he was told 1 hour into work that a meeting had taken place the previous day and the decision made to make him redundant - he was told he could leave immediately as there was no work and that he would be paid 1 weeks notice. (This redundancy came 2 weeks before he would have completed 2 years with the company and therefore be entitled to a longer notice and redundancy).

 

He was asked to come in the following day to go over details. This never happened as two of the bosses were on holiday and the other person he needed to see (who told him of the redundancy) was 'busy' and then later 'out the office until after the bank holiday'.

 

My son was due to have a pay increase on 03/10 when he turned 19 onto the minimum wage rather than apprentice wage - a message was left to see if it was possible to discuss staying on apprentice wage in order to keep their costs lower and for him to be able to complete the course. No reply was received.

 

After the bank holiday he received the letter saying he was being made redundant due to shortage of work and he would be paid what was owed on 06/09/13 - that was it. I called ACAS who said there were 2 issues, unfair dismissal and breach of Apprenticeship Contract & that I should write to them detailing this.

 

At this same time my son was attending interviews and later managed to get a trial at another company to see whether he could complete his apprenticeship there, he is still on trial there and still attends college 1 day a week.

 

I did a lot of research and sent a letter to the previous employer. It basically outlined there being no selection meetings, no appeals process listed, loss of wage, no contact with training provider to inform them, basically way it had been dealt with, breach of Apprenticeship Agreement, failure to complete his training without loss of wage.

 

No reply to requests to meet even though they had stated he go in the following day etc. His training not being upto date because they had not had him on right machines (something I found out from the college, another breach of the Apprenticeship Agreement).

 

As he had been given a trial at another company I asked for a settlement Agreement of £4000. I was advised he was at the least entitled to loss of wages for the remainder of the course (12 months) however with him starting a trial at a new company I reduced this by more than half for an out of court settlement.

 

Today we have received a reply - it states the following: they apologise for no appeals process being included on redundancy letter, oversight on their part and they would happily accommodate and appeal meeting if he wanted one after reading the letter.

 

They refute that he was unfairly dismissed 1; several meetings had taken place in the 6-8 weeks before where decreasing workload was discussed in detail. 2; My son was in attendance at the meetings. 3; It was discussed that as a result of lack of work that short-time work was being considered. 4; 6 roles have been been made redundant, a mix of skilled and unskilled.

 

I have a couple of issues, first no redundancy was discussed in the meetings and also not mentioned in their points above, my son was present at the first meeting where short-time was discussed in as much as overtime was banned, that was it.

 

He had a day off for the 2nd meeting so was not in attendance, he was told about the meeting from a collegue and that work shortage meant they may have to reduce hours, he was not told about the meeting by a manager upon his return just a collegue.

 

The third meeting took place the day before his redundancy when he was at a family funeral, he was told of the meeting upon his return and that the decision had been made in that meeting to make him redundant. He left immediately.

 

It then goes on to say 'all other measures have been considered and as you can see from the above points have indeed been applied' - no they were not - my son nor anyone else there has been placed on 'short-time' to try and help them keep their jobs.

 

It then states...'As you have stated in your letter you were the least skilled person onsite and in order to protect the business for the future our priority is to retain the most multi-skilled people'...first i didn't state that, it said - they had not kept his training up to date as advised by the college & also is the second part not discrimination??

 

...it goes on....'We would clarify for you that a redundancy situation arises when there is a diminishing requirement for an employee to carry out work of a particular kind, it is therefore irrelevant that you were on an apprenticeship'...my question is, how can a training position be diminishing if the training is not complete??

 

They refute that they are responsible for any loss of wage to my son - 'the company always paid you more that the basic apprenticeship rate in any case'....they are responsible for loss of wage as my son cannot earn the minimum wage for a 19 year old now and what difference does it make that they paid him more than the minimum apprenticeship wage, that was their choice!!??

 

They state they have not breached employment law in any way. They state they will not be entering into any discussions of any kind regarding a financial settlement as it is wholly inappropriate and not applicable....why state you will be happy to set up an appeal meeting if his job is 'diminished' and no financial settlement will be discussed - whats the point of an appeal meeting then??

 

It then just says 'if you have any queries please contact us to arrange a meeting.

 

So, sorry, not that brief...but has he a case, I think so, acas think so but my concern is that as he has a trial at another company now that this will go against him - as it reduces the claim for his loss of earnings substantially - a claim for just loss of earnings would be pretty much pointless if he gets taken on permanent at his new company, is there an unfair dismissal case, acas said yes but didn't elaborate, his ex employer say no.

 

Thinking of going straight to acas,, no point having a meeting with them as far as I can see or would I be better getting an employment law solicitor??

 

Does anyone know exactly whats been committed here: breach of apprenticeship agreement, breach of employment law, unfair dismissal - all of those??

Edited by honeybee13
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Hello there.

 

I expect the forum guys will be along later with advice for you, but weekends are always quieter here.

 

I've put some pararaphs into your post to make it easier for them to read. :)

 

My best, HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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first port of call, what does his college say?

Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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Hi there

College initially didn't believe me! His company had not contacted them. They then said that his ex employer should have taken steps to find him a replacement placement. This is part of their contract. They did not. After that they didn't seem to want to get involved to be honest. They have helped him get a trial at his new place but said if my son or I tried to take this any further that it could mean my son losing his new placement.

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"Although apprentices have employment rights in terms of dismissal under the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA), the ability to dismiss an apprentice before the scheduled end of the programme is limited. It is a key feature of an apprenticeship scheme that it creates a relationship for the defined period of time that it takes for the employee to learn a particular trade. Therefore the relationship and contract cannot be terminated early merely by the employer giving notice to the apprentice. This means that the apprentice cannot be made redundant. "

 

http://www.lge.gov.uk/lge/core/page.do?pageId=3577861

 

Should be pretty easy to find yourself a no win no fee lawyer for this one.

Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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To add to Emmzi's point, many apprenticeships are part-funded by the government so the employer isnt really paying the wages anyway. The college will have someone who knows the ins and outs of this and can hopefully advise on the transferral to a new sponsor for his course of study. His employer amy be committing a criminal offence of fraud if they carry on as they are so that would be worth asking your lawyer about when you choose one.

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