Company closing site....urgent advice needed please

Background information.
05/01/21 - Was informed Company is closing site I work at in April and said I (and my colleagues) have to transfer to a new site just over 15 miles away or leave the company, and "redundancies are not an option."
13/01/21 - Had one on one meeting with manager and a union rep in attendance (at the start of the meeting he said he would not be joining in and was merely there as an observer to make sure things were done correctly).
The meeting was a basic "have you got any questions" format, the end result being that the company was going to put together a list of frequently asked questions and provide a Q&A pack shortly.
20/01/21 - received Q&A pack along with instructions I have 9 days to say whether I am transferring or not.

Now for my problems!
I dont have a car and public transport is unreliable and involves 3 busses and takes about an hour and a half to two hours to travel each way (albeit I do not have to pay) - I work flexible hours which sometimes means I have to be in work before 6am and there is no available service at this time. Likewise sometimes I finish after 9pm and again there is no available service.  
If I had my own vehicle my travel time depending on time of day could be anything from 30mins to 60mins+. At the moment my travel time to work is 10mins max.
My partner is extremely ill and working locally I can return home at short notice and more importantly quickly should she fall ill - fortunately this has only happened once in the last few years -  but her health is steadily deteriorating meaning this could possibly start happening more often (even to the point where I have been considering giving up work to care for her).
Company has agreed to the following to help with relocation:
A small payment per mile (tax free) to cover fuel costs - equates to @£25.00 / week - for people with their own vehicle - but only for 6 months.
An interest free loan of  upto £2000 for people who do not have a vehicle to purchase one - repayable over 12 months.
Problem is I have never owned my own vehicle - insurance quotes for suitable vehicle are  £90+ / month. Also I do not want the expense of paying back a loan and monthly insurance costs that I can't afford. As well as the fuel and running costs.
A possible carshare scheme whereby you get a lift in at a fixed cost with another member of staff.
The company is saying that as I have been offered a suitable alternative position I am not entitled to redundancy pay should I choose not to accept.
I personally think that due to the cost / travelling time  and my partners health it is not suitable.
I need someone wiser in these matters than I am to answer the following questions:
1. If I do not choose to relocate am I entitled to redundancy.
2. Are my reasons valid for not relocating. 
3. Any other advice.

Sorry for being so long-winded but I have tried to cover everything and really need help on this as I have little time to make a decision.

Many Many Thanks.

«1

Comments

  • Background information.
    05/01/21 - Was informed Company is closing site I work at in April and said I (and my colleagues) have to transfer to a new site just over 15 miles away or leave the company, and "redundancies are not an option."
    13/01/21 - Had one on one meeting with manager and a union rep in attendance (at the start of the meeting he said he would not be joining in and was merely there as an observer to make sure things were done correctly).
    The meeting was a basic "have you got any questions" format, the end result being that the company was going to put together a list of frequently asked questions and provide a Q&A pack shortly.
    20/01/21 - received Q&A pack along with instructions I have 9 days to say whether I am transferring or not.

    Now for my problems!
    I dont have a car and public transport is unreliable and involves 3 busses and takes about an hour and a half to two hours to travel each way (albeit I do not have to pay) - I work flexible hours which sometimes means I have to be in work before 6am and there is no available service at this time. Likewise sometimes I finish after 9pm and again there is no available service.  
    If I had my own vehicle my travel time depending on time of day could be anything from 30mins to 60mins+. At the moment my travel time to work is 10mins max.
    My partner is extremely ill and working locally I can return home at short notice and more importantly quickly should she fall ill - fortunately this has only happened once in the last few years -  but her health is steadily deteriorating meaning this could possibly start happening more often (even to the point where I have been considering giving up work to care for her).
    Company has agreed to the following to help with relocation:
    A small payment per mile (tax free) to cover fuel costs - equates to @£25.00 / week - for people with their own vehicle - but only for 6 months.
    An interest free loan of  upto £2000 for people who do not have a vehicle to purchase one - repayable over 12 months.
    Problem is I have never owned my own vehicle - insurance quotes for suitable vehicle are  £90+ / month. Also I do not want the expense of paying back a loan and monthly insurance costs that I can't afford. As well as the fuel and running costs.
    A possible carshare scheme whereby you get a lift in at a fixed cost with another member of staff.
    The company is saying that as I have been offered a suitable alternative position I am not entitled to redundancy pay should I choose not to accept.
    I personally think that due to the cost / travelling time  and my partners health it is not suitable.
    I need someone wiser in these matters than I am to answer the following questions:
    1. If I do not choose to relocate am I entitled to redundancy.
    2. Are my reasons valid for not relocating. 
    3. Any other advice.

    Sorry for being so long-winded but I have tried to cover everything and really need help on this as I have little time to make a decision.

    Many Many Thanks.

     No you are not entitled to redundancy because the job is not redundant. Thy need someone in post, you, just at another site. Your personal issues are not their problem. 
  • tacpot12
    tacpot12 Posts: 7,845
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    The company is wrong to say that as you have been offered a suitable alternative position they don't have to pay you redundancy pay if you choose not to accept. Providing you have worked for them for two years when the site shuts in April, if the alternative position is not suitable for a valid reason, they have to make you redundant, they can't dismiss you. Note that if they have to make you redundant, they only have to pay you the statutory amount of redundancy pay to do so. You can check what your statutory entitlement to redundancy pay is here: Redundancy: your rights: Redundancy pay - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

    You will not be entitled to notice pay if they give you more notice than they are required to that you will be made redundant in April. If you expect to need to claim benefits if you are better off being made redundant rather than leaving the job voluntarily. 

    Your reasons for not wanting to move are reasonable. You should tell your employer in writing that you don’t want to accept the alternative job, and your reasons why. Make a note of anything they say or do. If you have home insurance, check whether you have legal cover, and if not, add it NOW while you don't know what you employer might do. You might need this cover to take the employer to an employment tribunal. Your employer is more likely to follow the correct procedure if they know you have legal cover and are aware of your rights. You might drop into conversations with them the phrase "I had a very interesting conversation about this with a solicitor that my home insurer has put me in touch with. He seemed very pleased."   (Lay people think that solicitors are only pleased by the prospect of easy money - you can and should prey on this misconception.)
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • p00hsticks
    p00hsticks Posts: 12,579
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    tacpot12 said:
     If you have home insurance, check whether you have legal cover, and if not, add it NOW while you don't know what you employer might do. You might need this cover to take the employer to an employment tribunal.
    If the OP doesn't already have such cover in place, then I suspect that it's unlikely that anything purchased now could be used - there's usually some sort of clause to prevent people taking out insurance to cover circumstances that are already known.    

  • Thrugelmir
    Thrugelmir Posts: 89,546
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    A possible carshare scheme whereby you get a lift in at a fixed cost with another member of staff.

    What's your issue with this option? 

    Your travelling times do seem somewhat excessive to travel 15 miles to the new site.  
  • GrumpyDil
    GrumpyDil Posts: 1,565
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    Also does your contract contain a mobility clause as that could make a difference? 
  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 32,260
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    edited 26 January 2021 at 12:35AM
    I’m not sure your partner’s health is relevant. Without wanting to sound unfeeling, that’s not your company’s problem. You have some employment rights as a carer but being able to get home in 10 minutes isn’t likely to be one of them. 
    If you couldn’t get to work in a reasonable time, then that would be different but if they are able to make alternative arrangements a 15 mile commute isn’t unusual. And the length of commute is going to be a lot quicker early morning and late at night. 

    What has your union said? 

    As an aside, a 1K insurance bill is higher then average. What is your definition of a “suitable vehicle” to give you that sort of quote? 
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • The question that was asked above, about a mobility clause in the contract is relevant.  If there’s no such clause in the contract and your caring responsibilities mean that you can’t work at the new site then you can certainly argue that it’s a redundancy situation.   The employer may view the role at the new location as a ‘suitable alternative’, but the right to a redundancy payment is only lost if you unreasonably refuse a suitable alternative.   What is judged to be ‘reasonable’  will vary depending on personal circumstances.  The fact of your caring responsibilities may mean that it’s reasonable for you to refuse whereas it may not be seen as reasonable for someone whose circumstances are different.  
  • avawat20
    avawat20 Posts: 159
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    1. If I do not choose to relocate am I entitled to redundancy. - no, you have been offered a suitable alternative role.
    2. Are my reasons valid for not relocating. - not based on what you have said - they have offered you a lot of alternatives. 15 miles is not unreasonable.
    3. Any other advice. - check if you have a mobility clause in your contract
    If you are a carer for your partner then they have a duty to consider and make reasonable adjustments (if she is a disabled adult), your flexible working pattern (or requesting a new one may be able to resolve some of this - technically you could reduce hours and if they accommodate it, it would be an RA but they won't pay you hours you work so there is a financial implication)
    Not sure what your caring arrangements are for your partner but suggest you research these for both of your benefits if not done so already
    It's not clear how big the organisation is or how many locations there are - can they offer you SAE in another, more convenient location for example? It's not clear what your job role is so is there some possibility for working from home?
    I suggest you discuss with your union but just put everything forward and try to co-operate where you can. Even if you end up trialling different things at least you have tried rather than just ruling it out e.g. if you go with the car share scheme (check if they pay for this) and it ends up being unreliable at least you have evidence of this)!

  • Sorry for delay, but many thanks for your advice.
    Have another one on one meeting later this week, in the meantime I have been furloughed...again!
    Will add an update as and when as it may help someone else in similar situation.

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