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Russell Jones & Walker yesterday settled its employment dispute with the UK’s second largest union, the GMB.
On 12 May this year, the GMB lodged an application with the Leeds Employment Tribunal, claiming that the firm, well known for its union clientele, failed to comply with section 188 of the Trade Union Relations Act. It alleged that the firm failed to fulfil its consultation obligations with the GMB in respect of the impact on staff of the closure of its Leeds City Centre office and relocation to a site in Wakefield. Russell Jones refuted the claims.
Under the terms of the settlement is understood that the firm is to pay the equivalent of 10 days gross pay to 13 legal and support staff made redundant as a result of the office closure.
The two parties agreed to the following joint statement: “Russell Jones & Walker confirms its commitment to the effective operation of its agreements with the GMB. It recognises the benefits that membership of the GMB brings to its staff and acknowledges the role the Union has to play in facing he challenges of the modern legal market. Both sides look forward to productive discussions at national and regional level.”
Russell Jones & Walker was advised by its own employment department, and has instructed Martin Westgate of Doughty Street Chambers. GMB legal officer Bill Innes handled the case for the union.
Russell Jones & Walker Senior Partner John Webber told The Lawyer, "It made sense for us to reach agreement swiftly. The most important thing to come out of this is our acknowledgement that we want to work with the GMB."