We woke late (for us) at 7.45 and were surprised by the weather – the forecast had predicted rain but it was brilliant sunshine!
I took a shower and then had a light breakfast of brioche and jams with coffee.
After breakfast we got ready and that’s when the weather turned, and it started to rain. Expecting it to stay like it, we packed lots of clothes for the trip to Norwich – then the sun came out – and stayed there!
We left just after 10am and drove over to Norwich. It was a smooth journey – only around 40 minutes and parking was a breeze parking in Chapel-Gate. We’d primarily gone to Norwich to pick up Lee’s replacement VCR/DVD combi unit at Argos. The trouble was that her local Argos in Cromer had reserved one at their Norwich store but neglected to tell us which of the two in Norwich! That meant potentially we had to visit both to find out. St Stephens branch was first (as it was near M and S and we were going there anyway) – luckily it was the right one – lucky for another reason too, as we learned that there are actually four Argos stores in the Norwich area, not two! Phew!
It was a good shopping experience and we think we might go there to do our Christmas shopping this year.
We got back about 1.30 and enjoyed a snack lunch of cheese, cold meats, crackers and wine.
Around 2, just after lunch, I got down to installing their new Samsung VCR/DVD combi unit. It seems more robust than the one it replaces – and all for less than 80 quid from Argos.
Ann and Lee disappeared to the kitchen to prepare tonight’s meal – sausage surprise aka ‘Toad-in-the-hole’.
3.00pm. The sun is still shining and it was a good opportunity to clean the car. 4.00pm – job done!
4.15pm. Now that their DVD unit is working, we settled down to watch ‘The Full Monty‘ – it hardly seems possible it was made 12 years ago! I’d forgotten how funny it was – very black humour though!!!
Well, it’s been a very stressful week for Ann. Still no reply from HR for her request to sit down with them and discuss her issues!
But what really stood out this week was Ann’s meeting with the Employment Law Barrister who she is working with via the Solicitor.
Whereas we thought we had an ‘open-and-shut’ case, the Barrister – being cautious – has reminded us that the ‘compromise agreement document’ in which the two redundancy amounts are laid out (statutoryminimum and employer enhanced), is purely discretionary! This means that if, through our actions, we p***-off Ann’s employer in the last few weeks of her employment, they are perfectly within their rights to withdraw the document – and then bang goes the enhanced option – it literally becomes unavailable! – and we would be left with very little dosh – just the statutory minimum figure!!
Why would we p*** them off? Well, we wouldn’t directly, but if the Solicitor’s letter explaining our our issues to them, comes across as being too gung-ho and aggressive (because that’s the style we were originally advised to adopt), her employer will almost certainly exercise their rights to withdraw the compromise agreement document completely.
As an result of this, if we end up settling for the statutory minimum redundancyfigure and fight the case at an Employment Tribunal, that could take ages (too stressful) and cost us a load of money (also too stressful). And, interestingly, our current Solicitor is NOT allowed to represent us at an ET, it has to be a Barrister (we didn’t realise that!) – so we’ll end up paying TWO people during the ‘fight’ process – a double-blow for the bank balance!
This is a real issue of principles, and maybe we’ll look back in years to come and it won’t feel like such a big thing; but currently it’s such a pivotal decision that we need to make. Either rolling-over-and-signing, (full amount of dosh, but values compromised) or fighting for what we know is rightfully Ann’s (expensive, time-consuming, but our values are left uncompromised).
Errr… this is really getting our grey-cells working overtime!!!
So, the Solicitor and Barrister have now constructed an appropriate letter with a few ideas for content from us. It’s assertive rather than aggressive (nice!) and sets out the concerns we have very clearly – it also reminds Ann’s employer of their obligations under the law.
In the next few days the letter will arrive at HR for their consideration – hopefully some actions/decisions by them will result. The letter suggests they get in touch with the Solicitor to resolve things.
It’s going to be an interesting penultimate week! Ooo-err missus!
Our long-term plan is to modernise the kitchen and utility room. Initially, we’re getting rid of the ‘swirly-plastered’ ceiling and dumping the crappy fluorescent tubes in favour of some modern down-lighters in both the main kitchen area and the utility room.
Phase I (Thursday) – Mick, the electrician came round to create the holes and lay the wiring for where the new down-lighting will eventually go.
Phase II(Thursday) – Nathan and his team came round to re-board and plaster the ceilings and then put up the coving.
Phase III Thursday) – Mick returns to drill the holes for the down-lighters.
Phase IV (Friday) – I paint around the freshly drilled holes in preparation for Mick to return on Saturday to install the lighting.
Phase V (Saturday) – Mick installs the lighting
Phase VI – This phase is down to us as the ceilings and coving will now need repainting. More on that, when we get around to it!The hardest, and most boring part, was me having to remove the old stick-on border prior to any of this – but now I’m thinking, did I need to anyway? – the plaster-board and the new coving completely covers the area of the stick-on border! – Doh!!