A new precedent has this week been set in the field of employment law as a UK-based firm won the right to retroactively sack a quarter of its workforce.
The company, which presently cannot be named for hygiene reasons, is a manufacturer and retailer of cheap leisurewear and has a reputation for harsh and questionable employment practices which frequently test the limits of legality. For instance, the firm has been able to pay considerably less than the living wage by claiming variously that it is a religion, a commune and an offshore windfarm. More recently it successfully defended an HMRC prosecution by offering expert testimony that the company as a physical entity did not exist and was merely a mental construct brought into being by the collective consciousness of its workforce.
This latest action came about after the firm posted considerable pre-tax profits which were, in their own words, not nearly enough. To rectify this shameful situation, directors decided to slash the wage bill by terminating the contracts of 25% of its employees, backdating their dismissal to 1997 and beginning immediate action to recover overpayments of salary.
Following a controversial ruling that the company had not acted outside the law, a spokesman for the government, who cannot be named for operational reasons, praised the firm's entrepreneurial spirit. "This is just the sort of innovative thinking that British industry needs," he said. "I think that we, as a nation, should be grateful that we can produce companies which are bold enough to think outside the box, and I for one am proud to be a shareholder."