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Companies and organisations employing 50 or more staff need to put systems in place to allow meaningful dialogue to take place between managers and staff, provided enough staff request them.
Specifically, the Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations 2004 (known as ICE Regs) require employers to inform and consult employees and their representatives on a range of key business, employment and restructuring issues.
Employees have a right to be told what's going on and a right to be heard.
Many well-run, successful companies have informed and consulted with their employees for years (through agreements negotiated with unions, or through Works Councils or staff forums), since before the ICE Regulations came into force. Sensible employers know only too well the competitive edge that comes from helping staff feel more valued and involved in the running of their firm or organisation. Only bad managers who insist on keeping their staff in the dark fear the ICE Regulations.
The rights granted by the ICE Regulations are meant to provide additional employee rights rather than replace existing ones. Therefore in cases of collective redundancies and where a business is transferred to a new owner (i.e. where TUPE applies) the existing rights for recognised unions to be informed and consulted still apply.