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Mr Barlow

Changing T&cs Of Employment Contract

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I have worked for a company for just over 4 years and have always been contracted to work Mon-Fri 9.30-6pm.

Last week we had a meeting at which it was unveiled that the company wants to increase the operating hours of the business to between 7am - Midnight on Monday to Friday, with Saturday 9am-2pm. In addition to the fact that the business is relocating to a place more inconvenient for all bar one of us to get to, they fully expect to do this for no commensurate rise in salary. None of us think this is fair, especially since salary-wise, we're already operating from a pretty low base.

I've done a bit of reading around (and spoken to ACAS) and understand that they need our agreement to make any significant changes to our working terms and conditions but that if we ultimately refuse to come to agreement, they are able to serve notice of termination of contract (effectively redundancy) with view to re-engaging on new T&C. In this scenario, would I be right in assuming we'd have a good case against them for unfair dismissal?

If any of you have any knowledge of employment law and/or practical experience in a scenario like this, I'd be really keen to hear from you.

Thanks.

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I have worked for a company for just over 4 years and have always been contracted to work Mon-Fri 9.30-6pm.

Last week we had a meeting at which it was unveiled that the company wants to increase the operating hours of the business to between 7am - Midnight on Monday to Friday, with Saturday 9am-2pm. In addition to the fact that the business is relocating to a place more inconvenient for all bar one of us to get to, they fully expect to do this for no commensurate rise in salary. None of us think this is fair, especially since salary-wise, we're already operating from a pretty low base.

I've done a bit of reading around (and spoken to ACAS) and understand that they need our agreement to make any significant changes to our working terms and conditions but that if we ultimately refuse to come to agreement, they are able to serve notice of termination of contract (effectively redundancy) with view to re-engaging on new T&C. In this scenario, would I be right in assuming we'd have a good case against them for unfair dismissal?

If any of you have any knowledge of employment law and/or practical experience in a scenario like this, I'd be really keen to hear from you.

Thanks.

I have a little knowledge having been a Union convener some years ago..

Much of this depends on the wording in your contract of employment. For example if there is a 'mobility clause' it is reasonable to expect you to travel to a new or different place of work. Reasonable would be decided in terms of how far it is between the two points and if there was sufficient public transport availability for employees who don't have transport.

A couple to 5 miles across town to a place with good transport links is probably reasonable, 40 - 50 miles up the motorway (I actually dealt with a case like this) would not be.

Hopefully that gives you some idea about moving the place of work.

As to changing you working hours, they would need your agreement. They cannot do so without this. That said if they tried and you refused then clearly there would be an impasse.

Ultimately they cannot force you but ACAS are correct they could offer you some sort of redundancy, you go and seek work elsewhere or make a one off sweetener payment (pretty much the same as a redundancy payment) and you accept the new contract t&c and new working hours.

4 years service though, it is not going to be a life changing sum of money.

If they start to try and bully you such as disciplining you for not accepting the new terms or not turning up for work at the new appointed hours then this moves the scenario to what can be called constructive dismissal, where potentially you may (and it is a big may) be entitled to extra payment for hurt and distress if proved.

The firm would have to have a pretty thick HR person though, to go down this road.

I don't know what trade or industry you work in but it is usually always worth considering joining a Trade Union. They will have legal helplines or full time officer who can visit, examine the existing paperwork (contracts) and advise accordingly. If push comes to shove and a visit to the Employment Tribunal becomes necessary then they will arrange this for you.

Always much better advice can be given with sight of the contract and your verbal descriptions on how the employer is handling this.

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You may be able to force them into making you redundant.

However this is only a useful option if they have generous redundancy terms, the statutory allowance is 1 week per year, so that would only give you 4 weeks pay.

Other than that, ask them for a pay rise as compensation for the extra work/travel/hours and start looking for another job.

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MrPin ******s of at four, without previous agreement and more money in it!

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My company moved across the city it is based in (about five-six miles as the crow files) - and there were considerable grumbles by the staff about it (in fairness the office had been there for nearly 20 years, and many had bought places that were within walking distance). In the end, the company offered to provide a contribution to increased travelling/child care costs for six months as well as allow more people to work flexibly either from home/change hours. Quite a few people still chose to leave though.

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I'll defer to union-Geezer in offering anything resembling useful advice.

But there's nothing unusual in what you describe. I've encountered similar things many times, happening to me or to friends. Most recently a friend lost her job just six months ago when it was relocated from Exeter to Brighton and she declined to make that move.

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I'll defer to union-Geezer in offering anything resembling useful advice.

But there's nothing unusual in what you describe. I've encountered similar things many times, happening to me or to friends. Most recently a friend lost her job just six months ago when it was relocated from Exeter to Brighton and she declined to make that move.

Why is the the wisdom of Dilbert so familiar to me?

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Why is the the wisdom of Dilbert so familiar to me?

Why has Dilbert been so successful for a quarter of a century?

Because so much about him rings true. You and I and millions of others know all too well the absurdities of his world.

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Why has Dilbert been so successful for a quarter of a century?

Because so much about him rings true. You and I and millions of others know all too well the absurdities of his world.

Scott Adams would invite his readers to submit the bizarre events of their corporate lives, so many of his cartoons are based on the real truth!

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Why has Dilbert been so successful for a quarter of a century?

Because so much about him rings true. You and I and millions of others know all too well the absurdities of his world.

Well my job here isn't what I was hired for, and I'm not particularly suited to it. There are some things outside your control.

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