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Many thanks for your patience. There are a few ways in which an employer may try and make changes to an employee’s contract of employment. These are by:
· Receiving the employee’s express consent to the changes.
· Forcefully introducing the changes (called 'unilateral change of contract').
· Giving the employee notice to terminate their current contract and then offer them immediate re-engagement under a new contract that contains the new terms.
In this case they are potentially looking at the final option where they would terminate your employment under the SOSR argument and then re-engage you immediately under the new contracts.
As long as the employer has a sound business reason for dismissing an employee who refuses to accept a change in terms, it should be able to establish SOSR and make it a fair dismissal.
A dismissal following a failure to agree to a change in terms will almost always be unfair where the employer has failed to follow a procedure of any kind or consulted with employees over the proposed changes, even where the business is faced with financial problems which means that time is of the essence. So if there are sound financial reasons for the changes, there has been a reasonable procedure to try and agree to the changes and consultations but agreement has not been reached, it is possible to eventually force the changes through.
This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the options you have on taking this further should you choose to do so anyway, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
You have to remember that the decision to close the scheme does not depend on future performance, rather on current. So you cannot say that if profits substantially increase in the future, the scheme should not have been closed in the past – the decision would have been made based on how the company was performing financially at the time the decision was made. This is not the first time such changes have been implemented by companies – many employers had very good pension schemes but things are not how they used to be, especially considering the difficult financial position over the last decade and changes are possible and have been successfully implemented. It would be difficult to challenge for a fairer percentage – what is fair, what is it measured against and who decides that? The courts cannot tell the employer what they should be paying their employees so the change in percentages will have to come down to negotiations between you and the employer, hopefully through the unions
You could try and argue that the business status did not justify it but a business does not have to turn a loss to be able to do this. In a complex corporate entity such as this one there could be all sorts of other variables which may prompt a cost cutting exercise, such as this one. It could also be projected profits, even if they do not materialise in the end. If they have a genuine and reasonable reason for doing this then they could go ahead with it. The only way would be to mount a court challenge against them and it could be a difficult one
I am sure there would be a lawyer who would take this up but I cannot give you chances of success as you need a formal case analysis for that, which we cannot just do online with just a few paragraphs of information. What you need to be doing is approaching solicitors in person to see if they are willing to consider taking this one and they would be able to give you a better idea of whether they can go ahead with it and what your chances are. We are just a Q&A service so we cannot go that far unfortunately