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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, Solicitor
Category: UK Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 38679
Experience:  Expert in UK Employment Law
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i am not a union member but would like to be accompanied to

Customer Question

i am not a union member but would like to be accompanied to a grievence meeting i have instigated with my employer, due to reducing my salary by almost 60% without my consent. have been with the company for almost 6 years, can you advise if i can hire /appoint a union representative to accompany me.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. It is rare to find a union tat would simply supply a representative to accompany you for a meeting. You would usually need to be a member and once you join it is common to have a period where you only receive limited services before you are entitled to receive the full range of services, which could also include representation at hearings. So even if you were to join a union straight away you may find that they would not be able to provide you with representation for a specified period of time. If you cannot find a union member to accompany you then you may bring a colleague with you instead

Customer :

Hi Ben,

Customer :

Is there anyone I can employ to accompany me.?I cannot request a colleague for various reasons. I am home office based, and although I have been with my company since day one (the CEO and myself set the company up), I am not familar with the other staff and they would be too influenced by the CEO (we are a small band of 10).

Customer :

sorry i did not mean to press send just then. My fear is that I will be by myself....the CEO has said that an independanet business consultant will chair the meeting but he is a personal friend of the CEO and because I know of the usual iregularities how can I be sure that the meeting is recorded exactly as it happens.

Ben Jones :

our legal right is only to a TU rep or a colleague. There is no service you can use to simply go and empoy someone to accompany you and this has been discussed before, for example here:

http://www.intellectuk.org/hr-today/5506-rent-a-union-rep

As you will see you can take anyone who is an official of a TU but apart from contacting unions directly and seeing whether they can help there is no centralised place where you can 'hire' a union rep

Customer :

the ceo would not agree to the grievance meeting at my home office, nor would he agree to meeting me half way at a nuetral venue......the office is 150 miles away so to try to speed things i have said as a last resort i would travel to HO. But since my 55K salary has been cut unlawfully to 25k plus my expenses since january have not been paid it will cost me arounf £120 in fuel to travel to the meeting. Can I insist on my expenses being reimbursed?

Customer :

additionally, can i raise a "further breach of contract~" at the meeting where i have claimed:

Customer :

Unlawful deduction of salary

Customer :

fundamental breach of contract

Customer :

loss of trust & confidence (as the CEO has lied following a telephone conversation)

Ben Jones :

you cannot insist on expenses to attend a grievance meeting, this is not something an employer has to reimburse you for unfortunately. You can raise these issues at the meeting if necessary but the employer can ask you to submit a new formal complaint about them if they feel it is appropriate

Customer :

can i take a friend or family member since i will be out numbered with the CEO and his buddy

Ben Jones :

No, unfortunately that is not allowed under law and can only happen at the employer's discretion

Customer :

can i record the meeting?

Ben Jones :

only if it contains information about you - if it discussed any personal information about others then you may be in breach of data protection regulations and it may not be used in court

Customer :

also, my employer is using my profile as a board director in a company prospectus......what rights do i have to insist on the immesitae removal of my profile as a board director (which incidentally i am not as nothing is recoreded at company house?

Customer :

can i take my employer to a tribunial even if i bye pass a greivance meeting following my written formal grievance?

Ben Jones :

yes you can make a tribunal claim without raising a grievance

Ben Jones :

the image issue will be a separate issue I'm afraid so you will need to post a new query on that if you need advice on it, thank you

Customer :

ben,

Customer :

I have already raised a formal written grievance on May 31st, my employer has prevaricated ever since in agreeing to a meeting until today. There has been several communications the last of which he insists that i attend the meeting at HO.

Customer :

If I do not attend, am i still able to resign due to "constructive dismissal" or does that make me vulnerable?

Ben Jones :

the tribunal may query why you did not attend the grievance meeting, especially if there is a chance it could have resolved anything. usually you can argue that you did not go down the grievance route if it was obvious that this was not going to achieve anything

Customer :

this is an impossible platform Ben, the info you are giving me is what i have already established from the net. From what you are appearing to say, is that.... although my employer has 100% screwed me over, that in effect, he still holds all the trump cards.

Ben Jones :

If I have already given you info you have found from your own research then that should back up the fact that what I have told you is what your legal position is. I am not sure why you are saying that the employer holds the trump cards - you have a grievance meeting but you do not wish to attend it, from what it appears a cost reason. unfortunately the law will not cover you there - if you have raised a complaint you need to consider the consequences of doing so and if there is a travel cost involved then I am afraid that is for you to meet and you cannot hold the employer responsible for it. Also you can certainly make a tribunal claim without going through the grievance procedure but all I said is that this could be queries by the tribunal and unless you have a reasonable excuse as to why you did not use the grievance route but went straight for legal action, then it may go against you

Customer :

can i raise a "further breach" for unpaid expenses in addition to the other 3 breaches prior to the meeting?

Ben Jones :

yes you may do but if the employer feels it is necessary and wishes to treat it as a separate claim they may ask you to formally submit it as a separate grievance

Customer :

lets go back one....my employer said he could not afford my 55K salary. He redUced it without my consent to 25K. This does not cover my mortgage.

Customer :

If at the meeting he says he will reinstate it, (which he never will because he is a proven liar), what can i say or do....?

Customer :

should he have made my position redunadant at 55k and offered reinstatement at 25k.

Ben Jones :

No, this is not necessarily redundancy. if he reinstates your salary then you can either accept it and try to get compensated for the difference during the time it was not paid, or reject it and say that the trust and confidence has been breached beyond repair and that you will still pursue a potential constructive dismissal claim

Customer :

okay, so. they unlawfully reduced my salary....i said i could not accept the reduction......but they made the reduction anyway.......this is why i made my formal grievance....... can you suggest next steps?

Ben Jones :

attend the grievance and see what comes out of it. if no resolution can be reached the you can consider the following claims - unlawful deduction of wages and pursue compensation for the salary lost, the other is constructive dismissal where you felt you had to leave because of the employer's breach of contract

Ben Jones :

Are you still there?

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