Friday, July 28, 2023

Untruths, threats and actual ACAS advice on "fire and rehire"

Clarion UNISON Facebook link

So called "Social Mission landlord" Clarion Housing Association has bullied and threatened hundreds of its workers to accept losing their defined benefit pension schemes by telling them they will be sacked without compensation, if they do not "consent" to the closing of their pension entitlement.
UNISON has sent out advice to its members but let us be clear what the ACAS (independent public body to resolve disputes between trade unions and employers) states about such disputes.
For the many staff impacted who face losing their defined benefits pension who felt bullied into accepting the closure, we would suggest (advice only for unison members) they consider withdrawing that "consent".
But please see what the ACAS advice is below and compare to what your employer has threatened you with!

(Update meeting for members impacted Friday 1pm 4 August. Teams invites to be emailed out).
Note "work under protest"
"However, if an employee does not agree with an imposed change, they might decide to:
  • temporarily work to the new terms and conditions, but make it clear they are challenging the change ('working under protest') 
  • Resign and make a claim of constructive dismissal at an employment tribunal, if they feel the change significantly breaks their agreed contract (a 'fundamental breach of contract')
If an employee works under protest

If an employee works under protest, they continue to work under the changed terms, but make it clear that they do not agree to the change and take steps to challenge it.

An employee should make it clear to you that they're working under protest. They should usually do this in writing on a regular basis, for example every time they get paid.

They should normally only work under protest for a short time so they can formally raise their concerns with you or take legal action if you do not resolve their concerns.

For example, depending on the circumstances, an employee could decide to make legal claims against the organisation for:
  • damages for breach of contract at a civil court
  • 'unlawful deduction of wages' at an employment tribunal, if the change affects their pay
  • discrimination, if the change means they are treated unfairly in relation to certain 'protected characteristics' under the law
If you impose a change that makes an employee's terms and conditions significantly worse than before, they might be able to claim unfair dismissal while continuing to work under the changed terms. This is a very complex claim. You should get legal advice if you're in this situation.

If there's a trade union

If you impose a change after not being able to reach agreement with a recognised trade union, the trade union might consider:
  • taking industrial action – for example a strike, refusing to take part in certain activities, or a 'work to rule' where employees do no more than what they're contractually required to do
  • supporting individual employees to make claims to a court or employment tribunal

No comments: