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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50187
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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My govt department are trying to get us to sign new

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My govt department are trying to get us to sign new contracts, called annualised hours. This contract have longer working hours, 9 hours per day, you have a choice of fixed or flexible hours, the latter allows you to choose your shift. The payment for bank holidays,Saturdays and Sundays are added on as a percentage to your monthly salary. The salary has been dropping in percentage every year. On the old contract, we get 16.5 percent of our monthly salary added on without premium days, due to working shifts. On the new contract, they cannot give us a percentage that will stay the same, as they say percentage can go up or down. So far it has been going down. The new contract pays a percentage on how flexible you are. The new contract says they can call you to work on your day off. I asked what happens if I don't come in on my day off to which they replied they will send an email to my line manager. I have been bombarded with emails (personalised to me) trying to get me to change contracts by 30th June. I have been offered £2500 to swap over. Last year they offered £3000 and had a deadline to sign up, which I did not sign. I asked what would happen if I did not sign the new contract, to which they replied dismissal followed by re employment. I get paid more on the old contract so why do they think I will sign a new inflexible contract.
Your help would be greatly appreciated. Do I need to sign this new contract? I do not like the way they are behaving at the moment, it is like bullying me to sign a contract. The old contract also has various shifts covering morning to late evening and nights.
Yours faithfully
Elv Patten

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today. How long have you worked there for?

Hello I see you posted a response as a new question. Could you please keep your replies to this one thread and I will continue on here - just before I repsond fully can you please confirm on here you are able to see this reply and that you are also able to respond on here. Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry BenI was having some technical difficulties, I see that I can read your response on my mobile. Could not access it at work.Elvin
07771 907071

Thanks I will continue on here. 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.

If the changes are introduced without the employee's consent, then the following options are available:

1. Start working on the new terms but making it clear in writing that you are working ‘under protest’. This means that you do not agree with the changes but feel forced to do so. In the meantime you should try and resolve the issue either by informal discussions or by raising a formal grievance.

2. If the changes fundamentally impact the contract, for example changes to pay, duties, place of work, etc., you may wish to consider resigning and claiming constructive dismissal. The resignation must be done without unreasonable delay so as not to give the impression that the changes had been accepted. The claim must be submitted in an employment tribunal within 3 months of resigning and is subject to you having at least 2 years' continuous service. You would then seek compensation for loss of earnings resulting from the employer's actions.

3. If the employment is terminated and the employer offers re-engagement on the new terms that could potentially amount to unfair dismissal. However, the employer can try and justify the dismissal and the changes if they had a sound business reason for doing so. This could be pressing business needs requiring drastic changes for the company to survive. If no such reason exists, you can make a claim for unfair dismissal in an employment tribunal. The same time limit of 3 months to claim and the requirement to have 2 years' continuous would apply.

Finally, it is also worth mentioning that sometimes employment contracts may try to give the employer a general right to make changes to an employee’s contract. As such clauses give the employer the unreserved to change any term, so as to evade the general rule that changes must be mutually agreed, courts will rarely enforce such clauses. Nothing but the clearest language will be sufficient to create such a right and the situation must warrant it. Any attempt to rely on such clauses will still be subject to the requirement of the employer to act reasonably and can be challenged as above.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of your rights should they dismiss you and re-employ you, 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

Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you

Thank you. In the event of a dismissal, an appeal can be submitted to the employer straight after the dismissal outcome is communicated. If the appeal is rejected a claim for unfair dismissal can be made in the employment tribunal. The time limit to claim is 3 months from the date of dismissal and the claimant needs to have at least 2 years' continuous service with that employer.

A new feature in the employment tribunal’s claims process is mandatory early conciliation with ACAS. This requires prospective claimants to notify ACAS and provide details of their intended claim and they would then try to negotiate between the claimant and respondent to seek out of court settlement in order to avoid having to take the claim to the tribunal. It is possible for the parties to refuse to engage in these negotiations, or that they are unsuccessful, in which case they would get permission to proceed with making the claim in the tribunal.

If negotiations are initiated and settlement is reached, then the claimant would agree not to proceed with the claim in return for the agreed financial settlement.

The conciliation procedure and the form to fill in can be found here:

In terms of the time limits within which a claim must be presented, the early conciliation process places a ‘stop’ on that and the time between notifying ACAS and them issuing permission to proceed with the claim would not count for the purposes of these time limits.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you BenThat was very helpful, if you don't mind I have some more questions.
No one at my work on the old contract wants to sign up, because my employer is not trustworthy, so unlikely to keep any promises made. The new contract does not pay double for Sundays and Bank holidays, or time and a half for Saturdays. This would affect me if I wanted to go part time as I suffered a stroke.Grateful if you could advise me if my options are different now. I have been for a health assessment, but that does not change the way they work, only very few managers offer me a 5 to 10 minute break.I feel they are trying to force me out, even though they would agree I'm a hard worker, despite my disability.Elvin

The rights will really remain the same. I would say however that if you all get together as a group and challenge this together it would be more difficult for the employer just to pick on someone and use them as an example

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks Ben

you are welcome, all the best