Beazer chief executive is disputing redundancy deal in the wake of takeover.
Beazer chief executive John Low is locked in a legal battle with Persimmon over his severance package.

Details of the dispute emerged this week, along with confirmation that the social housing element of Beazer Group, Beazer Partnerships, is to put forward a management buyout (see story, below).

Building understands that Low is unhappy with the package he has been offered. It is understood that Nick Smith, managing director of Beazer Homes, has brought in his lawyers.

It was revealed last week in Building that Persimmon was aiming to save £20m a year by making up to 800 Beazer staff redundant and closing 12 offices.

Sources at Beazer said morale was collapsing as Persimmon makes decisions over redundancy terms. Persimmon, however, disputes this.

A spokesperson said: "Beazer was an underperforming business and the staff had had a long period of uncertainty after the Domus announcement, so morale was low.

"Morale is much improved now and Persimmon is working hard for the many thousands of ex-Beazer staff who remain with the group." Low, who has been on gardening leave since the takeover six weeks ago, refused to comment on the reports except to confirm that the matter was with his lawyers.

Beazer sources say he is just one of a number of staff who are talking to their lawyers after claiming that severance packages were not in line with what their contracts. Persimmon refused to comment on this claim.

Persimmon insisted that contracts will be honoured. It said that confusion had arisen because some staff believed that they were entitled to nine months' pay because they have a nine months' notice clauses.

A Beazer source said: "The way Taylor Woodrow handled Bryant staff was far better than this and they all went away happy. This is just desperately sad."