Man Utd give all staff one-week deadline to decide if they want to keep jobs

  • Man Utd give over 1,000 employees the oportunity to resign
  • It comes as a direct response to Sir Jim Ratcliffe banning working from home
  • Staff have only been given a week to decide if they want to stay or go
Changes are coming at Man Utd
Changes are coming at Man Utd / Michael Regan/GettyImages

Manchester United have given non-football staff just a week to decide if they still want to work for the club following Sir Jim Ratcliffe's blanket ban on flexible working from home.

Ratcliffe agreed to buy a minority stake from the Glazer family in December following a prolonged takeover process, with the stipulation of taking control of football operations. But the British billionaire's reach already seems to go far deeper, having insisted on sweeping changes that mean nothing for the playing, coaching and technical staff but have huge implications for everyone else.

Ratcliffe, whose dislike of a work-from-home culture stems from a 20% drop in email traffic when staff at another of his companies didn't come into the office on Fridays, is no stranger to ruthless business decisions and made it plain in an all-staff call that employees could seek "alternative employment" if they did not agree with the new directive at United.

With that coming into force from 1 June 1, an email was sent to everyone on Tuesday offering "voluntary resignation", with a deadline of 5 June to fall in line or walk away.

United employ more than 1,000 people and as many as 20% have been tipped to go.

Some staff told The Athletic it "looked a lot more like a voluntary redundancy programme". Part of the motivation could be a cost-cutting exercise, with the new hierarchy looking for ways to invest more in the playing squad after the club made a £42m loss for the 2022/23 season, despite recording what was at the time a record revenue for a Premier League club.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe is adamant Man Utd staff must work from club offices
Sir Jim Ratcliffe is adamant Man Utd staff must work from club offices / Crystal Pix/MB Media/GettyImages

Those who take the offer to leave now will still be entitled to receive their annual bonus early that would otherwise be paid in September. But notice periods must still be completed, from the office – the club has premises at Carrington, Old Trafford and in London.

"Whilst many have ­welcomed our new approach, we are aware that a number of colleagues prefer not to commit to this new way of working and are keen to understand their options," the company-wide email explained. "With this feedback in mind and the fact that we respect each colleague’s right to choose their approach to work, we will allow those who wish to resign now to claim their bonus early for this season if they cannot work from our offices from 1 June."

There seems to be an element of 'speak now or forever hold your peace' about it all as the new regime begins to take hold and gather momentum.

Staff have previously been described as "bemused" by Ratcliffe's insistence on everyone being onsite full-time, suggesting it is a "shortsighted" move that will struggle to work when there isn't currently enough space for all staff to come into the various offices at once.

Ratcliffe has been keen to drive standards since taking up his position, calling out untidiness on a recent visit of facilities, drawing direct comparisons with how things are run at INEOS and threats that staff perks like Christmas parties could be cancelled.

Despite intentions being geared towards everything supporting improvement on the pitch, morale appears to be taking a sizeable hit instead.

The Daily Mail has reported that a post-FA Cup final party for non-football staff, the like of which has been held in previous years, wasn't held as part of cost-cutting. They were still offered a free ticket for Wembley but had to pay £20 towards coach travel in a change from the past and were also not provided with food. Frustration mounted when loudmouth YouTuber IShowSpeed gained access to the players’ post-match celebrations at a hotel in Mayfair as a personal guest of Alejandro Garnacho. The divisive American had been involved in a confrontation with United fans during the game whilst filming himself and his obnoxiously over the top reactions to events on the pitch.