Axed DLA staff vent spleen over packages

Axed DLA staff vent spleen over packagesA leaked internal memo has exposed the scale of anger over DLA Piper’s job-cutting programme, with employees confronting­ ­senior staff about the ­redundancy ;packages offered by the firm.

As revealed on The (11 March), minutes from a meeting held last month, after the firm announced it was to lose 30 lawyers and 110 ­support staff, showed office managing partner Catherine Usher fielding angry questions ;about ;the ­compensation being offered.

Unlike firms including Clifford ;Chance ;and ­Linklaters, DLA Piper has offered the statutory minimum to departing staff.

One employee at the meeting described the package as an insult, saying: “I’m not sure you appreciate the level of anger on the floors.” Others asked why partners had not been affected.

Those who take voluntary redundancy will receive their contractual notice period, ;the ;statutory ­redundancy payment and one month’s salary.

The minutes also revealed that a recruitment freeze had been in place since June 2008. The hiring freeze is understood to exclude newly qualified lawyers and ‘essential roles’.

HR staff told the meeting that, in a bid to lower costs, since June last year 100 employees had left the firm, with only 26 per cent of the vacancies being filled.

The 30-day consultation ends on 20 March. A DLA Piper spokesman said: “We’ve ;engaged ;in ;a ­thorough process, which in two of our offices has ­included a formal collective consultation ;process, including the election of workplace representatives. The representatives have added to the debate and we’d like to thank them for their ­contributions.”