First details have emerged of the UK restructuring and office closure programme planned by embattled firm Slater and Gordon.
Sources have disclosed that talks have begun on the future of offices in Bristol, Halifax, Newcastle and Liverpool (Waterloo). There are also proposals to close personal injury departments at offices in Birmingham and London.
It is unclear how many staff are affected by the potential closures, but existing staff will be given priority when applying for jobs elsewhere in the UK group.
Slater and Gordon faced a 31 March deadline for presenting its reorganisation plans to lenders after posting trading losses of nearly £500m last month. It has yet to make any announcement on progress to the Australian Securities Exchange.
The new-look business will have three principal divisions: fast-track personal injury claims; serious and specialised personal injury law; and general law. This will result in consolidation in major city centre offices and the closure of some regional offices.
The firm will close its Derby office from 30 June, with one staff member accepting a new role in Sheffield.
The Sheffield office itself is also subject to consultation over a proposal to stop PI multi-track work at that site.
Talks are underway with trade union Unite on plans for the offices acquired along with Walker Smith Way.
The Ashton office is likely to close, with PI work stopping at Preston, Wrexham and Chester. The Chester office will be a strategic location for serious and specialist PI and general law.
Meanwhile the firm will scale back work on noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) after acquiring thousands of such claims through the buy-up of Quindell’s professional services division. NIHL activity will cease at Aldershot from 6 May, while this work will also stop at Blackpool and Liverpool.
At Fareham, talks are ongoing with motor claims staff regarding the closure of the operation there.
Talks about transferring staff in the costs division based in Cardiff, Manchester and London have started, with a view to their moving to SGSL Compass Costs Solutions.
A buyer has been found for the Accident Claims Helpline, with had been threatened with closure and 75 redundancies. This takeover was completed at the end of March.
The reorganisation will not affect any current traineeships or any accepted training contract offers for September 2016 and 2017 at Slater and Gordon Lawyers, although the range of seats available may be limited. However, current and future trainees with Slater and Gordon Solutions could be affected, subject to consultation.
Two key figures in the UK business are to return to Australia, including Cath Evans, chief executive of personal injury law. Head of HR Rachael Kelly will leave on 15 April to return to the Australian business.
Slater and Gordon declined to comment on specific details of the restructuring.