Russell Jones sued by its own lawyers

Russell Jones & Walker is being sued by the UK&#39s largest union the GMB over the treatment of a number of the firm&#39s employees.

The general workers&#39 union is filing a complaint to the Employment Tribunal on behalf of a handful of Russell Jones fee-earners following a review of the firm&#39s bonus scheme last year. The claim is for an unlawful deduction of wages.

The GMB was involved in the initial consultation process over the changes, but it is now alleged that a number of lawyers are losing up to £17,000.

There was previously an annual executive bonus of 20 per cent over and above financial targets, but that was reduced and the award based on overall contribution to the firm increased.

Fee-earners now receive 10 per cent over financial targets and, according to a GMB spokesperson, most lawyers are failing to make up the original amount when using the merit-based scheme.

Four lawyers are bringing the case in London and there are a number of others in the regional offices.

“We recognise that, as with any such initiative, not everybody wins at first – Russell Jones spokesperson

A GMB spokesperson said: “At this stage, we&#39re making sure we protect our members and don&#39t file the claims too late. It could still settle and we&#39re
trying to continue consulting and negotiating. We&#39d like to reach a compromise, but we want to make sure that our members don&#39t lose out.”

A source close to Russell Jones said that most of the firm&#39s staff are benefiting from the changes. “There are only one or two that are losing out,” he said. “But whenever changes are made, there are always one or two people that claim they&#39ve lost out.”

A Russell Jones spokesperson said: “The clear intent of the new scheme has been to provide a more balanced merit-based scheme alongside the conventional financially-based one. We recognise that, as with any such initiative, not everybody wins at first.

“We recognise that the few people adversely affected in this instance have a right to air their views and will continue to be dealt with seriously and sympathetically.”