Union officials have warned 12,000 ASDA employees could lose their jobs if they refuse a change to their employment contracts that strips them of paid breaks, changes to night shift payments, being called to work at shorter notice and perks for working during the holidays.
The BBC reported on Friday that staff had said they were terrified of losing their jobs.
Making changes to your employment contract – the law
Employers can try to make changes to their staff employment contracts, usually by trying to get their employees or their union representatives to agree to the changes.
Ideally, when consulting their workforce, an employer, particularly a large one like ASDA, should keep in mind that it’s very much a two-way process where ideas are shared and worked on together.
Employers – what should you do?
- Be open and upfront about the reasons for the change;
- Ask your workforce to state any worries they may have and also any alternative suggestions;
- Keep an open mind to the worries of your workforce and contemplate their suggestions;
- Try wherever possible to answer any concerns;
Employees – what should you do?
- Think about the planned change and the reason given for that change;
- Inform your employer of any observations, or worries, you may have and any suggestions for alternative options;
- Keep the conversation flowing;
- Try and exhaust all options to achieve a mutually agreeable result.
When changes are agreed:
The Employer is obliged under section 4 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 to give the employees a statement of the changes to their core contractual terms in writing within one month of the change taking effect.
Last Chance Saloon:
When all else has failed and no agreement can be reached, an employer might decide to dismiss and rehire every employee concerned under a new employment contract, making sure that they follow a fair dismissal procedure. This is not guaranteed to protect an employer from claims for unfair dismissal but gives them the opportunity to argue that the employees have been dismissed fairly for Some Other Substantial Reason.