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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: UK Employment Law
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Can my employer make these changes to my pay? Current pay. £13.0576/hour

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Can my employer make these changes to my pay?

Current pay.
£13.0576/hour (38.5 hours/week)

Proposed pay.
£11.50/hour (38.5 hours/week)
£40 production bonus (they claim but can be as low as £20)
£44.28 for 10% shift allowance (days) or £132.83 for 30% (nights)
£527.03 (days) and £615.58 (nights) per week
£27,405.30 and £32,009.90 per year respectively.

Whilst it is a pay rise, myself and my work mates are worried about the cut in basic pay and the addition of 10% on days which seems to us to be a round about way of only paying 20% on the night shift.
Also worries over future short time working and getting only basic wage, redundancy, pensions etc.
The main goal seems to be to lower our hourly rate and they are prepared to "increase" our pay to do it.
We wonder why.

Thanks Steve

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to be able to assist with your question today.

This will amount to a change in contract. There are several ways in which an employer may try and make changes to an employee’s contract of employment. These are:


1. By receiving the employee’s express consent.

2. By forcefully introducing the changes (called 'unilateral change of contract').

3. By giving the employee notice to terminate their current contract and then offer them immediate re-engagement under a new contract that contains the changes.


If the employee agrees to the changes then that would usually put an end to the matter.


If the changes are introduced forcefully then the following options are open to the employee:


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


2. If the changes are serious enough (e.g. a change to pay, duties, place of work, etc.) the employee may wish to consider resigning and claiming constructive dismissal. The resignation must be done without undue 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 the employee having at least 2 years' continuous service.


3. Finally, 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 justify the dismissal and the changes if they had a sound business reason for dismissing an employee who refuses to accept the variation in terms. This could be pressing business needs requiring drastic changes for the company to survive. If no such reason exists, the employee 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.


It is also worth mentioning that sometimes employment contracts may try to give the employer a general right to make changes to the employee’s contract. As such clauses give the employer carte blanche 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. Any attempt to rely on such clauses will still be subject to the requirement of the employer to act reasonably.

If you are unhappy with the changes then you can consider challenging them using any of the above options


Thank you i just wanted to know where I stand legally.


I have read that being a liaison they can take my acceptance as everyone's acceptance, is that true?

Ben Jones :

when you say a liaison, how was that decided


i was nominated and asked by the management, then I had to ask my work mates if they were happy to let me talk to them on their behalf.

Ben Jones :

your decision will not automatically bind the others and this will depend on the exact agreement that was reached between you, the employer and the others. If you were specifically given the power to negotiate on their behalf and enter into binding decisions then that could be the case, but not otherwise


ok that makes me a little easier.


again thanks very much

Ben Jones :

My pleasure. Please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service I have provided you with as that is an important part of our process. Thank you


will do, bye.

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