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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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What can I do when my employer insist I sign a contract that

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What can I do when my employer insist I sign a contract that a union has aproved on my behalf without my consent or involvement in the process, what rights do I have? How can I fight back?
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

Are you a member of the union?

Customer: Yes I'am a member of a union. It is because of the union why I have this problem. Too of their officers signed this contract on our behalf without consultation and as a result I and my peers are face with this problem, I have the proof
Ben Jones :

does your contract state that collective agreements can apply?

Customer: Their is no statement of particulars , I'm not sure if collective agreements apply
Ben Jones :

briefly, what are the changes?

Customer: All terms and conditions to my existing contract have changed they is no mention to them in this current contract
Ben Jones :

How long have you worked there for?

Customer: 13 years
Ben Jones :

The issue with such cases is if the union and the employer have agreed on a collective bargaining arrangement then the workers may not be able to stop a change to their contract by objecting to it. Bargaining rights mean that the union has the right to negotiate with the employer on your behalf about the terms and conditions in your contract, regardless of whether you are a member of the union or not. In effect any changes negotiated by the union would be binding on the workforce even if the affected employees are not union members.

It is not necessary for the union to hold consultation with the affected employees as the negotiations will largely be conducted between them and the employer.

To challenge such collective agreements is a very complex and technical matter, you alone may not have the legal knowledge to mount an argument yourself and would in all likelihood require a legally trained professional to act on your behalf.

You can see a detailed briefing note on the operation of collective agreements and how they are made enforceable here:

That should give you an idea of what the law requires but also it will point out how technical this area of law is.

In terms of challenging the changes then it is more or less as stated – you either raise a grievance or if that does not work then you can only really consider resigning and making a claim for constructive dismissal in the employment tribunal. The law does not allow you to just make a claim whilst remaining in employment so you must consider the grievance or the constructive dismissal route.

Customer: This I contract has not been agreed with my best interest at heart, the company has not been operating at a lost so how can this be right. Unions are there to work on the members behalf not against them I pay subs to be represented not handed to the wolves
Ben Jones :

collective agreements will almost never satisfy everyone - that is practically almost impossible when you are negotiating on behalf of the whole workforce - there will always be a section of workers that will not be happy. But just because you pay membership t the union does not mean that they will have to consider your individual need and circumstances when doing collective bargaining - as mentioned even non-members will be bound by this so this is not what you pay subs for, it is the other union-related services that would mainly be covered. lso it does not change the ways in which you are able to challenge this which remain as stated in my earlier response

Customer: Ben, no one within my workforce is in agreement with this union and how these two officers have sold us out for their own gains I'am surprised that I would have to give up my job in order to fight my case what is the point in having a union that dose not fight for the workforce that it's called to represent thank you.
Ben Jones :

you are welcome

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