On Sunday evening I sent an email to the whole Radix team (11 people currently) about how I think the referendum result will affect our business. I wanted to say something to clarify the situation, and I am reproducing it here in case it’s useful to other small business owners.
I should stress that this email simply represents the situation as I judged it over the weekend. It was not reviewed by lawyers or HR consultants – they weren’t working on Sunday, and in any case, it’s unlikely anyone would have been able to give me any clear advice, given the general mood of uncertainty and lack of communication from government.
If anyone spots any factual inaccuracies, please let me know and I will update the team accordingly.
Here’s the text of the email:
Hi everyone, having had some time to reflect over the weekend, I wanted to let you know what last week’s referendum vote means for Radix, for your jobs, and for our business.
The situation is still very unclear but I hope this answers some questions you may have. If you only read some of it, make it the bits in bold. Please feel free to ask me about anything you’re not sure of.
The situation as it stands
Britain has voted to leave the European Union. To make this happen, the prime minister has to notify the European Council of our intention to leave. There will then be up to two years of negotiations to extract our country from the union. David Cameron has resigned saying he will not notify the European Council of our intention to leave, and that job will fall to the next prime minister.
So until a new prime minister is in place (likely October), we remain in the EU, and we will remain in it until the exit negotiations are complete. For the next two years at least, Britain is still a member of the EU [update: per a comment below from Sean McManus (thanks Sean), it’s technically possible the exit process will take less than two years] and still subject to the same EU laws and regulations as it was before last week’s vote.
Radix’s reliance on EU funding
I think you are all aware that Radix has relied on EU-funded assistance to help us to grow to the size we are today. We have mainly relied on business support from Oxford Innovation, who have helped us structure the business and plan our growth, and, in 2013 when Radix was facing difficulties, helped us formulate a plan to avoid any redundancies.We have also used Unlocking Potential to help us find and hire some of you.
This help was invaluable while we were learning how to manage a growing business. Without it, we would not be the size of company we are today, nor would we be in such a strong position, with healthy cashflow, a good spread of clients, money in the bank, and no debts.
Today we are still working with Oxford Innovation and Unlocking Potential, who are still providing services to Cornish businesses with EU funds. These funds are already in Cornwall, and while Britain remains a member of the EU there will be no requirement to give them back. So we are in no immediate danger of losing the support we get from those organisations. We are currently hiring new writers and growing our business, and we intend to continue with our plans.
Your jobs and rights
Because Radix is in a strong, healthy position, your jobs are not at risk.
Many of the rights you have in the workplace are based on EU legislation, while others were already enshrined in UK law. It is impossible to know at this point how UK employment law might change once Britain is no longer a member of the EU. As EU exit negotiations get underway, we will take advice from our external legal and HR advisers to keep up to date with any possible future changes to employment law.
However, you should know that Radix is committed to fair and considerate treatment of all employees, and we will continue to observe the terms set out in your contracts of employment and in our company policies. If you have any questions about your rights at work, or about specific aspects of EU/UK employment law, please ask me.
Radix operates in an international market, with clients and end-clients in several countries, but the vast majority of our sales are made in the UK and we buy hardly any goods from abroad. Therefore, at the moment I do not envisage any specific impact on our business from the decision to leave the EU.
However, it would be irresponsible to state categorically that Radix’s business will not be affected by the current political and economic situation. The situation may well have an impact on some of our clients, which may then have a knock-on effect on our business with those clients. We can’t foresee what will happen while the political situation remains so uncertain. If specific risks become apparent we will make plans to counter them.
Talking about the current political situation
I would ask you to bear the following three points in mind when talking or communicating with clients, colleagues, suppliers and partners of Radix – or when representing Radix on social media:
- If you are discussing the current political/economic situation, please be mindful that the person/people you are talking to may not share your view of the situation. Please be respectful, and avoid making disparaging comments about other people’s voting decisions and views.
- Many of our clients and business associates are nationals of other EU countries living in the UK, and some are British nationals living in other countries. Please keep in mind that these people face a worrying and uncertain time until the political situation becomes clearer.
- I am sure I don’t have to remind you that hate speech is illegal in the UK and will not be tolerated at Radix. Hate speech means “expressions of hatred toward someone on account of that person’s colour, race, nationality (including citizenship), ethnic or national origin, religion, or sexual orientation.”
Needless to say David and I will be following the situation closely, taking professional advice where necessary, and keeping you updated.
Thank you for reading,