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At Weightmans, our industry experts understand the difficulties the manufacturing sector is experiencing, in balancing the interests of your organisation with the needs of your employees, in a challenging economic climate.

Our HR Rely advisors appreciate that manufacturing is an industry that never sleeps, and that keeping production going will always be your first concern. Our team of experts in manufacturing employment law will support you in the recruitment and retention of sufficient skilled staff, managing levels of sickness absence, managing the performance of junior and senior managers, negotiating with trade unions and employee representatives, reorganisation and redundancy and a host of other employment issues that regularly arise on the factory floor or behind the scenes.

On a daily basis, we provide support to manufacturing companies of all sizes and talk to all levels of personnel: from company owners and Directors to managers and HR professionals.

Our team

Our HR Rely team includes employment lawyers with more than 80 years sector-specific experience, providing a deep understanding of specific challenges facing manufacturing employers. We get to know your business and values, to provide your company with seamless and trusted advice.

Our service

We deliver a high-quality personal service to your managers and HR professionals, ensuring we give practically focused, strategic advice. This can include advice on managing relationships with unions and handling your public communications.

Your Client Relationship Owner (CRO) will ensure total continuity of service. They will work to understand your key strategic aims, and tailor our approach to meet your needs. Your CRO will focus on supporting your business to achieve your objectives within costs agreed with you.

Our HR Rely team is flexible, available and supports our clients to address their issues confidently and quickly. Our service is demand-led to meet significant peaks and troughs of activity.


We operate a dedicated HR helpline service to answer any day-to-day queries that arise. We find that the majority of issues fall with the scope of the retainer and that our early advice helps to mitigate against bigger issues down the line.

You can choose whether you want your HR team to liaise with us every time, or whether you would prefer to free-up valuable HR time by asking us to support your managers directly. Either way, our advisors will be on the lookout for any recurring issues and provide upskilling tips to help you grow.

Employment tribunals

Whilst we work with you closely to avoid employment tribunal claims, they will inevitably, occasionally arise. You can be assured that, at the outset of each case, we will review the claim and advise on the legal issues and the relevant evidence that needs to be collated, as well as identifying the witnesses. As early as is reasonably practicable, we provide an initial assessment of the merits and potential quantum of compensation as well as giving advice about other relevant factors such as potential reputational damage, policy, and strategic implications.

Recent work in manufacturing

The range of our work with manufacturing clients covers all aspects of employment relations and employment law advice. Recent examples include:

  • COVID Advice; Testing, vaccination and ‘return to work’
  • Managing Strike action
  • Changing working patterns; for example, introducing a new shift
  • Issues around ‘lay-off’ and short-time working
  • Harmonising and changing terms and conditions of employment for large cohorts of staff (including increasing weekend working obligations and removing bonus payments/ changing pay arrangements)
  • Supporting clients with significant restructure projects, reducing global and UK headcount, reducing overall wage spend and managing reputational concerns.
  • Managing capability issues such as poor performance and ill-health, including sensitive concerns around employee mental health and wellbeing.
  • Advising on and defending employment tribunal claims including high value claims of unfair dismissal and sex discrimination.

Our three-tier menu offering enables you to choose the right support package that works for best for your business. Your CRO will be able to help guide you through the process.

Adele  Shortman
Principal Associate

Adele Shortman

  • +44 (0)161 214 0596

What our clients say

Carole Anderton HR & SCM Manager, ContiTech UK Ltd Continental AG
However complex a situation I find myself in as a HR Manager, Adele methodically unravels the scenario through thorough questioning and then provides pragmatic tailored guidance in the form of either written or verbal advice. To ensure my understanding and ability to apply the advice provided, Adele includes explanations of the legislation and cases that she has used to formulate the solution and provides templates and other documentation where required. In addition, Adele is proactive in keeping me up to date with any legislative changes that are applicable to our sector of manufacturing, sales, and distribution plus any generic changes, for example, the recent responses to the pandemic. I feel as though Adele is part of our business and understands our culture and most definitely works collaboratively with us to limit risks and create best practices.
Helen Farley HR & HSE Manager, Hydrobolt Ltd
The team at Weightmans work as an extension of our business. Their advice is always timely, practical, and bespoke to our needs. We would highly recommend them to other organisations.
Lisa Rowles HR Director, Horiba Mira
The relationship works as a partnership, and HR Rely support links very well with our in-house HR function. We have received support on a number of cases, from basic employment law advice, to key support on executive and strategic level matters. HR Rely adds protection and value to our business.

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