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Redundancy PDF
Tuesday, 12 October 2004 21:05
 

Paul Whitelock

The telephone rang.  It was the Director’s secretary.

The boss wants to see you next Tuesday at 11.00am!

Sorry, it’s half term and I’m on leave!

Five minutes pass.  The telephone rings again.

                                     He says: Be there, or else!

Oh, dear, I thought!  What have I done wrong?  Then I discovered our esteemed Director had a three-line whip on four of us. 

Well, we knew what it would be, didn’t we?  We’d seen it coming.  New government policy on education in the wake of the Enquiry into the murder of Victoria Climbié meant that non-core areas of the curriculum were going to be marginalised and councils would no longer be able to afford advisers and inspectors in those subjects.

So, the following week on the appointed day and at the appointed time I arrived at the Director’s office for my meeting with the big chief.  As I entered his office, I couldn’t help but notice a colleague, who had been in before me, weeping in a side room.  Blimey, it must be worse than we think, I mused....

Hello, Paul.  I’m not going to beat about the bush.  I’ve got some bad news for you.

I looked at him impassively with no reaction.

The Education Committee has decided  to delete your post.

I continued not to react, which clearly made him feel uncomfortable.

Aren’t you going to say anything?

Yes, thank you, I said, and rose to leave.

We’ll look after you, of course.  You’ll get a 90-day notice of redundancy shortly.  But the Pension Scheme will allow you to take early retirement.  Our intention is to pay you a lump sum based on your service and make your pension up to 60 payable from the date you become redundant.

Did he really expect me to be grateful to him – for being sacked, effectively?  I was, in fact, extremely grateful and absolutely delighted, but I wasn’t going to tell him that!

By mid-afternoon we’d all been officially informed and were gathered together in our office - funny that all four of us had recently been moved into the same office on our own.  Bet it was bugged.  No, couldn’t have been – some of the things we’d said about management over recent weeks and months!

Reactions were mixed.  J was still crying – she’d recently taken out a big mortgage and didn’t know how she was going to be able to meet the repayments.  E was concerned because he still had a son at university. Like me,  M was smiling!  He was a bit older, mortgage paid off and kids off his hands, similar to me.

Don’t get me wrong – we all felt bad about being put on the scrapheap in our mid-fifties and the sense of rejection was almost palpable, but, as I said to them all, many others would jump at the chance of early retirement.  We were in fact very fortunate and we were clearly going to be looked after by the Pension Fund.

Roll on April 5th!

 

Paul Whitelock

Paul is a Joint Honours graduate in Spanish and German, a qualified teacher (PGCE) and has a Member of the Institute of Linguists (MIL) qualification.

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