Publishing firm Macmillan faces £75,000 fine for breaching staff consultation regulations

Publishing firm Macmillan faces the threat of a £75,000 fine after it was found to be in breach of Information and Consultation Regulations.

The Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) ruled that the company had failed to respond adequately to a request from staff union Amicus. The regulations require employers to set up permanent information and consultation arrangements to discuss business changes when requested by 10% of employees.

Amicus has now lodged three separate complaints with the CAC about Macmillan since November 2005.

Its latest campaign aims to force the firm to set up an employee-elected body for its 1,350 UK staff. The union can now take the case to an Employment Appeal Tribunal, where the company could face a maximum fine of £75,000.

Macmillan is one of the largest publishers in the world, and boasts best-selling authors such as Wilbur Smith, Minette Walters and James Herbert.

James Richardson, group personnel director at Macmillan, told Personnel Today: “We are naturally disappointed with the CAC’s decision. We’ve operated formal staff consultation arrangements for 30 years.

“We will be studying the decision to see how we can comply with it, while still respecting the rights and wishes of the majority of our staff, who have always supported our existing forms of consultation.”

Amicus assistant general secretary, Tony Burke, said he was “disappointed” the firm had “not entered into the spirit of the legislation”. He said: “Amicus will use the legislation to get our members their rights at work.”

Phillip Sack, director of policy at employee consultation specialist European Study Group, said: “This latest decision shows the need to take employee requests under the new legislation seriously.”

The Macmillan decision follows hard on the heels of two earlier cases, both of which went against the employers.

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