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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: UK Employment Law
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My Trade Union advised me in strong terms to go on strike three

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My Trade Union advised me in strong terms to go on strike three times to save my job. I did, and as a result I still lost my job and was not entitled to the same redundancy payment as other workers in the same position, because my 3 strike days left me 3 reckonable days short of redundancy entitlement. If I had not gone on strike, I would have been entitled to the redundancy payment. Can I sue my Trade Union for the loss caused by my following their advice ?

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.
Before proceeding please note that as I am a practising solicitor, I am often in and out of meetings, travelling between clients or even at court when I pick your question up. This may even occur at weekends. Therefore, I apologise in advance but there may be a delay in getting back to you and providing my advice. Please be patient and I will respond as soon as I can. You do not have to wait here and you will receive an email when I have responded.

For now please let me know exactly how long you have worked there.


Hello Ben, thanks for your help. I worked for the DWP as an Administrative Officer on a Two Year Fixed term contract, so I was there for exactly two years. Because of the 3 one-day strike days I am told I only have 1 year and 362 days of reckonable service and so am 3 days short of redundancy entitlement. My former Union, PCS, proudly announced in April that they had won an Employment tribunal and that everyone with 2 or more years of service would be entitled to redundancy, and that DWP would not contest the claoms. However, because I went on three one-day strikes, carrying a placard that said "protecting jobs and services", I still lost my job and also my entitlement to redundancy equivalent to two months' pay. I have it in writing from both DWP and from a PCS senior official that the reason I am not entitled to redundancy is because I went on strike, and that if I had accumulated a full 2 years of service then I would be entitled.

Thank you for your patience. It is unlikely that you can seek compensation from your Union in these circumstances I'm afraid. You have to show that they had acted negligently, significantly below the level a reasonably competent union in their position would have acted at. You would also have to show that the losses suffered by you were reasonable foreseeable. This second test is likely to fail you as it would not have been reasonably foreseeable that you would have been made redundant with just 3 days short of the required service to receive a redundancy payment. If you were to claim it would be entirely down to you to prove these legal tests were satisfied and that you have a valid claim and I do not believe that this will be something easy at all, so you may simply end up spending more time and money pursuing something that will have rather low prospects of success.

I'm sorry if this is not necessarily the answer you wanted to hear but I hope you understand I have a duty to explain the law as it actually stands and sometimes this does mean delivering bad news. Please let me know if you need me to clarify anything.

I hope this has answered your query for now and would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating. Your question will not close and I can continue providing further advice if necessary. Thank you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you Ben. Can I clarify one thing please? One additional piece of information - like hundreds of others I was on a two year fixed term contract, so does this mean that my redundancy was reasonably foreseeable?

No, not necessarily - a fixed term contract does not mean that your employment would necessarily end and the employer has to justify that there was actually a fair reason to dismiss you when the contract reached its natural end. Redundancy is just one of the potentially fair reasons for ending a fixed term contract, it could have been ended for other reasons, such as 'some other substantial reason', conduct, capability etc
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