PracticeAccounting FirmsYou’ve got mail: ‘you’re sacked.’

You've got mail: 'you're sacked.'

Andersen UK last week notified 1,500 employees by email they were losing their jobs - and then offered redundancy payments of just a week's pay for every year they had worked at the firm.

Insiders at the firm talked emotionally of staff having to switch on their computers to discover whether they would be axed in the job cull announced by the splintering firm last month.

Those losing their jobs had an email waiting for them inviting them to a ‘consultation’ with the human resources department, where they were told of their redundancy. They received official redundancy notifications this week, while some left yesterday.

It is understood employees were furious at the initial redundancy, and immediate complaints were lodged with Andersen management by employee representatives. Second in command in the UK, David Sproul, had originally warned employees two weeks ago in an internal webcast.

The general view of the redundancy payments was described by one of those affected as ‘horrendous’.

Following negotiations, the firm agreed to increase the payments to a week-and-a-half for every year, but said that it simply could not afford to pay more.

Management highlighted the reasons for this in its email to those losing their jobs, saying: ‘A combination of difficult economic conditions and the effects of the Enron situation have resulted in real challenges for our business.’

The job cuts took place across the UK, affecting all levels of staff, while up to 80 partners are still to be axed. Only Andersen Legal and Corporate Recovery, which is transferring to E&Y, were not affected.

Andersen now has less than 3,000 UK staff, although this number is likely to be affected when it merges into Deloitte & Touche – possibly by 1 July – although no confirmed number of retained staff has yet been formulated. Some 200 Andersen Worldwide employees have already been axed, with a number based in the UK.

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