Increasing numbers of businesses are seeking advice on how to manage lay-offs of their employees.
The Northern Employers & Manufacturers Association says the number of calls it gets each week from businesses about downsizing has risen alarmingly.
Chief executive Alaisdair Thompson says 5% of the 40,000 incoming calls six months ago, were about managing redundancies. They now amount to 25% of the calls.
He says the inquiries are from companies across the board - most needing to shed 10% of their employees.