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Brexit shows city workers need better employment protection

by LLB Reporter
23rd Jan 19 7:56 am

Financial services employees whose jobs are being relocated overseas as a result of the on-going uncertainty caused by Brexit have little choice but to accept the role abroad, according to a leading employment lawyer.

Employment solicitor Chris Marshall said he is being approached by increasing numbers of City employees who are seeking ways to remain in London’s Square Mile and Canary Wharf as their roles are moved to Paris, Dublin, Frankfurt and Luxembourg.

But Mr Marshall says that financial services employees who don’t want to relocate often find their only option is to accept redundancy settlements if they don’t want to move overseas, often on terms which are modest in comparison to their salaries.

Mr Marshall, who specialises in the financial services market, accepts that this view will meet with little sympathy from the majority of the country, but feels that employees in the City don’t have enough protection under the current employment system.

Marshall said: ‘I’ve had a number of employees in the financial sector approach me to ask if there is any way they can resist a move abroad and stay in London when their role has been relocated to a different country.

‘Every circumstance is different but generally they have little choice. Although most employment contracts do not require the employee to work abroad permanently, there are very few alternative vacant positions left in London due to Brexit and the downturn in the markets.  Employees are often left with Hobson’s choice; accept either the new role, or unemployment.

‘Employees in the UK really have few rights in this regard and I feel with more companies working on a global stage this is something that needs to be looked at. Ironically, European countries tend to have better protections in place for employees which means they often don’t face such a stark choice of either moving abroad or losing their job. If they do refuse to transfer, the financial compensation for them is generally more advantageous than in the British system.’

It used to be that industry-standard that City employees who accept redundancy received one month of salary for every year they have worked at the company. This exceeded the statutory minimum, but was justified on the grounds that it reflected the precarious nature of their employment. This standard has been eroded in recent years, reflecting the more straightened economic times.

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