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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: UK Employment Law
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Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Good evening, I hope you may be able to assist me with a

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Good evening,

I hope you may be able to assist me with a query in the context of an ongoing issue. I work for an architectural practice to which back in January 2012 we were informed that due to economic circumstances all staff would be required to take a 15% reduction in wages.

The two equity partners in the practice produced an piece of correspondence to this effect outlining the 15% but with no notional end date. It was stated that the situation would be reviewed on a three month basis.

Discussions were had to which no employee signed the letter given, there was a verbal agreement given on the basis that additional measures would be undertaken (eg company accounts produced at said reviews to identify when the practice would be in a position to reinstate the reduction) whilst this verbal agreement was reluctantly given, none of the above measures/assurances have been implemented since (eg no reviews etc)

Essentially the situation continues indefinitely to which I'd certainly appreciate any advice. I feel even though I gave verbal acceptance, the conditions I asked to be implemented have not been adhered to.

Is there any recourse for me? I'd greatly appreciate any advice or opinions. Many thanks for your help.

Kind regards


Ben Jones :

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

Ben Jones :

Before proceeding please note that as I am a practising solicitor, I am often in and out of meetings, travelling between clients or even at court when I pick your question up. This may even occur at weekends. Therefore, I apologise in advance but there may be a delay in getting back to you and providing my advice. Please be patient and I will respond as soon as I can. You do not have to wait here and you will receive an email when I have responded. For now please let me know how long you have worked there.

Customer: Hi Ben,
Customer: many thanks for the answer your question I've worked at the practice for nearly 12 years.
Customer: I'll look forward to hearing from you,
Customer: kind regards
Customer: mark
Hello Mark, thanks for your patience. This was effectively a change to your contractual terms and conditions and could have been implemented with your consent, which your employer received at the time. However, this consent was obtained on the promise of certain conditions and as such would have been conditional on the employer meeting their part of the bargain. If they have failed to do so, not only is this a potential breach of contract from a legal point of view but also would go against the implied term of mutual trust and confidence which exists in every employment relationship. 

1. Inform the employer that you no longer age to the reduction due to their failure to discharge their part of the bargain and that you are now 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 you should try and resolve the issue either by informal discussions or by raising a formal grievance. 

2. If the matter is not resolved following a grievance then you 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. If you do not wish to resign you can consider making a clam for breach of contract to seek compensation for any losses incurred as a result of this, which would be the difference in pay.

Please take a second to leave a positive rating as that is a very important part of our process. Your question will not close and I can continue providing further advice if necessary. Thank you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Good evening Ben, many thanks for the reply. Im certainly content to follow your suggestion in the context if motifying my employer that i am as of now 'working under protest'. I just have more question if I you feel the length if time taken for me to notify my employer of this would be an issue? (Eg the changes were implemented in January 2012 to which 16 months have now elapsed, to which now I formally notify them). Its probably worth noting that i (along with other employees) have actively asked (verbslly) for a dialogue to take place to which nothing has been forthcoming from the employer. Many thanks again for your continued assistance. Kind regards, Mark
The time elapsed will be relevant however that would depend on the reasons for the delay. For example the changes may have been implemented 16 months ago and it would have been reasonable for you to expect to have the original terms reinstated after around 12 months let's say. Therefore, the delay would not have been as bad considering this, although it is true to say that the longer you leave this unchallenged, the more it would be implied that you have accepted these terms as they are.

As your original question has been answered I would be grateful if you could please quickly rate my answer - it only takes a second to do. I can then continue providing further advice and answer follow up questions if needed. Thank you.
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