Thursday, June 21, 2012

UNISON NDC 12: TUPE - Dealing with the challenge of privatisation and austerity cuts

On Tuesday evening there was a fringe  event on TUPE. Speakers were Dave Johnson, UNISON head of private contractors and community and Shantha David, Legal Officer, UNISON Centre and the meeting was chaired by AGS Karen Jennings.  Who was pleased that so many delegates were not tempted by the free Rum being offered at the Cuba Solidarity event next door.

Some key points:- TUPE is all about preserving existing rights not create new rights. It should apply if the "undertaking" continued and retained its economic identity after transfer. Unions can take legal action over Unfair dismissal, unlawful deduction of wages or failure to inform and consult.  If you refuse to transfer you will only be able to prove unfair dismissal if you can prove that you face a significant deterrent after transfer. Which is difficult to prove.

Any post transfer variation to pay would be void if carried out for reason of harmonisation with other workers. Vital to have a clear "paper trail"to prove any failure to inform and consult. Dave Johnson shared some interesting advice about what to do with employers who try and use "Austerity" as a justification for breaking TUPE protection (an Economic, Technical or Organisational reason) which I will not post upon but members can get advice from their branches and region.

UNISON will be publishing updated advice on TUPE and procurement soon. We need to improve TUPE especially over consultation before transfer. Work with the Labour Party to change TUPE when they are next in power.

In the Q&A that took place afterwards there were many "horror" stories about what some employers are planning or have done. UNISON members are very worried by these attacks as well as the complexity and uncertainty of TUPE.

(NB this post based on my twitter feed)

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