Brendan Barber, general secretary of the Trades Union Council (TUC), has voiced his concern over reports bogus drug tests have been used to make people redundant.

According to Release – the national centre of expertise on drugs and drugs law – it received a total of 493 calls in the first quarter of 2008 and 6.2 per cent of these were related to drug testing at work.

However, during the corresponding period of 2009 the proportion climbed to 26.4 per cent of 548 calls.

Mr Barber said TUC the implication that "spurious and arbitrary drug tests are being used for dealing with redundancies is deeply disturbing".

"Employers should have clear and transparent policies on redundancy, known to workers and negotiated with unions if possible," he added.

Law firm Pinsent Masons recently conducted a survey that saw 84 per cent of respondents say they were considering making redundancies in the coming months – but did not understand the rules and regulations regarding them.