According to a report in the Insurance Times, the company has already furloughed more than 1,000 employees, as well as asked staff to take a 20% pay cut and give up sick pay
Markerstudy Group is to make 478 staff redundant across its business operations in response to the “huge impact” of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The firm has already placed more than 1,000 of its 3,000 staff members on furlough, as well as requested that employees not on furlough take a 20% pay cut and give up sick pay.
Staff were told verbally about the redundancies on 27 May; this was shortly followed by written internal communications.
A source at the organisation told Insurance Times that there will be around 40 redundancies within Markerstudy’s third-party claims team, for example, as well as redundancies within its motor accidental damage (AD) division.
The collective consultation regarding the redundancies will commence on 10 June and will last around 45 days; Insurance Times’s contact suggested that individual consultations will take place after this date.
A spokesperson at Markerstudy said: “Within a matter of weeks Covid-19 had made a huge impact on our organisation, which includes leisure and hospitality in addition to insurance and associated businesses.
“Markerstudy sought support from the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, allowing us to retain employees at that time who would otherwise potentially have been at risk.
“Markerstudy has worked with staff to try and minimise, insofar as possible, the significant impact of the coronavirus pandemic on every area of our business, but despite all our efforts, it has continued to impact our group, resulting in changes to our business models and the necessity to embark on a redundancy consultation exercise.
“Sadly, Markerstudy has not been alone in having to consider all available options and take immediate action. As we have now announced the proposal for a redundancy programme with employees, it is not appropriate for us to comment further.”
Coerced On 9 April, Markerstudy asked its employees not on furlough to take a 20% pay cut, backdated to 1 April, and to forgo sick pay.
Our source at the firm said that initially 75% of staff agreed to the pay cut – the remainder were then “persuaded” to take the pay reduction following phone calls from Markerstudy Group’s management.
Around 98% of employees eventually agreed to the pay cut; Insurance Times’s contact said that those who still had not agreed to the pay cut could initiate a grievance process, however they did not know the number of staff involved in this and no trade unions are currently involved.
Furthermore, the source at Markerstudy told Insurance Times that the pay cuts were “definitely sold to staff on the basis of if we don’t agree to this, then we’ll probably be in a redundancy situation” – staff now find themselves potentially facing redundancy despite agreeing to the imposed pay cuts.
When asked whether Markerstudy could have furloughed any more staff rather than start the redundancy process, Insurance Times’s contact said: “I think they’ve honestly furloughed as many staff as they possibly can. Big chunks of staff have been furloughed.” Our source described the redundancy news as “devastating”.
“I feel that the way the company [has] treated staff is really poor, and I’ve been in the industry a long time. You’ve got quite a few people where it’s husband and wife [who] both work in the company. It’s potentially devastating. I just think that the way the company has treated its staff is really shabby,” the source said.