It was announced today that around 230 people will lose their jobs at Debenhams' call centre in Taunton, as the operation is relocated to Leeds.
Given that the company is, in my opinion, a bunch of heartless, slave-driving vultures, I have no hesitation in suggesting that they will not be providing the best possible care for their soon-to-be-ex-staff.
With that in mind, here's what you need to know if you're about to get handed your P45.
First off, know your rights. You are entitled to statutory redundancy pay - even if they offer you your old job, but in Leeds. I suspect this is the first slimy trick they may try - "But you can keep your job if you move to Yorkshire" or even "But it says in your contract we can relocate you". Moving you to Leeds is not a "reasonable distance" - Bridgwater would be - but Leeds isn't, so you're not "refusing a reasonable offer of work", and as such are not forfeiting your right to redundancy pay.
Next up, your health is a main concern. There's an organisation called the Retail Trust - they can offer you free advice, support, and even counselling if you want it. It's completely free for everyone working for a retail organisation, so that means YOU. Did I mention it's free? Check out www.retailtrust.org.uk for more information. They're very helpful, so it's worth giving them a call.
Remember that the Citizen's Advice office is always a good source of information, as is DirectGov - the latter being particularly good for redundancy rights and process information.
Get your CV out there right now. Remember, you're going to be up against 230 other people flooding the labour market, looking for jobs. However, on the positive side (and it is important to try and look positively on the situation), now might be the ideal time to evaluate your surroundings in life - decide if this was the "kick up the backside" that you were waiting for, in order to pursue your dreams - maybe to go travelling, take up a course of education, or just have a little bit of a time out.
And above all - start stealing office supplies. Go on, courier an empty parcel from the office, leave the tap running, or call an international phone number from your desk phone on your last day, leave it off the hook, and walk out. Anything you can do that unnecessarily costs the company money will make you feel better.
Oh, and please remember to click the Facebook button at the bottom of this post to add this to your wall - I'm sure your friends will find it useful, and if you've got any other useful info, post it below in the comments.
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