The food and beverage sector faces continual challenges in dealing with large numbers of staff with a varied skill mix, irregular working patterns across, increasingly, a wide range of jurisdictions.
With the removal of the default retirement age, there is also a perception that there is an ageing workforce; that skills are being lost; and that not enough is being done by Government and leaders to bring through new talent.
We provide an integrated and co-ordinated service delivery across our international practice. In a sector where the ability to flex your workforce is key, we have advised clients on:
• employment litigation both in tribunal and the higher courts
• large scale redundancies and restructuring, including implementing such plans on a cross border basis
• consolidating their operations, from staff relocations to outsourcing
• working within the legal framework to meet operational needs, use of overseas labour and immigrations issues, as well as atypical working such as annual hours contracts and use of agency staff
• holiday pay issues.
We have specialist teams in areas such as Discrimination and Labour issues and disputes, whose experience includes providing legal and strategic advice on threatened industrial action, collective and individual consultation for 1,000+ employees with multi union recognition, contentious pensions issues, and operational relocation.
We have providing legal and strategic advice to a large number of high profile food and beverage clients in relation to the ongoing holiday pay issues that are currently affecting many employers in the UK.
In addition, we have advised a number of clients on their obligations as equal opportunities employers (anti-discrimination, bullying and harassment), defended claims and trained staff to raise their awareness of such issues and minimise risks. Advice has also been provided on sensitive issues relating to time off rights (from flexible working to religious observance) and dress code/issues.
We are also able to advise our global clients on labour practices and conditions in developing countries, as they become more and more under increasing scrutiny. Allegations of sweatshop factories, dangerous working conditions and child labour have been made against a wide-range of companies, particularly those reliant on foreign supply and value chains. The resulting impact to reputation and sales can be hugely detrimental, reflecting an increased ethical awareness amongst customers and investors who are quick to disassociate themselves from tainted brands. We have been instrumental in issuing guidance to our clients in this area.