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by Vault Law Editors | March 13, 2009

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Earlier this week The Lawyer ran the story of a contentious meeting at DLA Piper’s London office regarding the firm's redundancy program, particularly concerning the fact that the firm’s laid-off employees were receiving the mere statutory minimum for severance packages. Now, from the always scathing, sometimes brilliant blokes &/or birds at Roll on Friday come these amazing excerpts from the leaked transcript of the meeting. In attendance were employee representatives, the firm’s London Managing Partner Catherine Usher, and an unnamed HR manager (who may or may not have been David Brent). Usher starts the meeting by bemoaning previous “disappointing and unhelpful” leaks to the press. Things go downhill from there. Read on for some highlights:

Usher: We ask you to retain confidentiality and to ask your constituents to do the same.

Employee Rep: I'm happy to ask my constituents but I know that the response will be the firm is treating us poorly so why should we do what you want.

HR Manager: I assume you mean in relation to the package on offer, but the answer to that is that the firm is in line with the statutory redundancy regulations.

Employee Rep: You have to comply with the statutory regulations.

HR Manager: Yes, and we're doing that. Shall we move onto the next point?


Employee Rep: Everyone is very pissed off to see their mates dumped out with nothing and there's a level of disdain compared to other firms.

HR Manager: We know and the partnership as a whole knows that there will be some work to build bridges at the end of the process, and there will be a number of steps taken to do that. I can only reiterate that if the firm had another option than to do this, we would do it.

Employee Rep: There is an option, raise the package.

HR Manager: The firm has made its decision in relation to that.

Employee Rep: So there's been no consultation on the redundancy package?

HR Manager: No, there's no statutory requirement to consult on the redundancy package offered.


Employee Rep: Why are we offering the package we are when DLA US are offering 3 months?

Usher: I can't speak for the US, they're a different partnership, I have no idea about that.


Employee Rep: [in response to a suggestion by HR Manager that some team drinks might improve morale] I'm astonished by that. I'm not sure you appreciate the level of anger on the floors.

HR Manager: We are very much aware.

Employee Rep: No amount of drinks and the opportunity to talk to your partner are going to compensate for seeing a quarter of your mates leaving on poor terms.


Employee Rep: This is a different climate to six months ago. The likelihood of getting another job is unlikely. The package only takes you to one month, people are at risk of losing their homes.

HR Manager: We are aware of that, and as I said, if there was any alternative the firm would be doing something different.

Employee Rep: You do have an option: raise the redundancy package.

Usher: That's not the decision that's been made.


Employee Rep: You mentioned giving help for securing alternative employment, what will that be?

HR Manager: There are various things we can do, firstly every individual has the option to use the Employee Assistance Programme provided by Lifeworks.

Employee Rep: What's that?

HR Manager: It's an advice line for individuals who've been made redundant and they can provide guidance about the impact of redundancy and what to do next.

Employee Rep: A helpline?

- posted by brian

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