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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: UK Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 44424
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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We are 3 security guards who have been working 6 on 3 off

Customer Question

For Ben Jones
We are 3 security guards who have been working 6 on 3 off shift since the first of June 2016.
Now due to circumstances that are just management they want to reduce our hours to work 4 on 4 off and bring in another guard.
This will result in loss of earning of up to £500 a month for us. The client is not too happy about this but our question is how do we fight this please?
Submitted: 18 days ago.
Category: UK Employment Law
Customer: replied 18 days ago.
I would like to add the reasoning behind this is due to the contracts manager loosing contracts he now has to cut our hours to make room for another guard who now has no site to work on. Not our fault.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 18 days ago.

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 and were the 6/3 shifts a contractual right?

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
1 of us has worked here on this site for 6 years and for the last 3 years worked 6am to 6pm monday to friday only. Then the contract changed and went 24 hours which was on 01/06/16 and that is when we came on, but as a whole I have worked for this company 9 years and Matt 5 years and John 7 we were toupped over to G4S as some point.
Customer: replied 18 days ago.
We have a meeting about this with our contracts manager, who is the one implicating these changes, on thursday and to be honest we are all very worried as none of us can afford such a big drop in our wages.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 18 days ago.

did these changes come about as a result of the TUPE transfer?

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
No just the fact that our manager has lost some contracts and now has guards with no work so instead of making them unemployed he is taking our hours off us and giving them to someone else. The 3 of us never chose to work for G4S we all got tuped over at some point.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 18 days ago.

The key here is that you are entitled to expect the hours you are contracted to do. So in the first instance you need to check your contracts to see if you are guaranteed a specific number of hours or a set shift pattern and whether the employer is allowed to change that.

If you are contracted to set hours, then what they are doing is going to amount to a change of your terms and conditions. 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.

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 the constructive dismissal option and how you can apply it here, 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

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