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macmay

Suspended for 'advising staff not to take overtime on a bank holiday'

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Hi everyone, 

I am hoping to get some concise and clear advice for a dear friend, who has been suspended from work after being accused of advising staff ' not to sign up for overtime on a bank holiday' in a protest against poor salary.

Can I first state that although the company pays the minimum wage and are within the confines of the law, they make their employees work very long hours and there has been some upset over salary increases.

Staff chose 3 spokespeople to act on their behalf but as at yet, there's been no real progress in addressing these issues.

On the last bank holiday, which according to the terms and conditions of the company isn't classed as a compulsory working day, the staff decided to decline overtime and not work to show solidarity in their protest - about 40 of them in total.

Some of them still came in, but most didn't as they freely and fairly applied their right to decline overtime.

However, the three spokepeople have now been suspended with the reason being 'Suspended for advising staff not come into work'

Is this legal? 

Surely the company could have doubled the overtime rate if they desperately needed people and not try to pin this on one person, who at no point coerced or forced people not to come into work.

I do believe this to be a form of bullying and intimidation by management, but await your wise counsel on this matter.

Thanks in advance for your assistance.

Mac
 

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I'm assuming there's no union? Unfortunate as there would be protection if there was... it's the difference between "legally recognised body" and "stirring trouble makers"...


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Thanks for your reply, Emmzzi, but is this legal? As stated, I'm asking this on behalf of an elderly friend. I myself work in  management and from time to time, we have 'rabble rousers' or 'toxic employees' that are a pain, but wouldn't dare suspend them for a thing like this!

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I assume they are suspended pending an investigation on full pay? And the suggested issue is some kind of misconduct?

 

 


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Yes, they've been suspended on full pay pending an investigation. I would assume this would fall under the umbrella of conduct, but he also has 35 signatures from these employees confirming they neither felt obliged nor coerced to decline overtime on that bank holiday.

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Posted (edited)

So, suspension is a theoretically neutral act. And thus legal.

 

However it's probably a term of the investigation that he doesn't contact other employees, so as to let the investigator have a clear run at it in an unbiased way. So if the signatures were gathered after the suspension, I'd be setting them to one side.

 

As an employer I might be going for a breakdown of trust, coercion of employees or refusal to follow reasonable instructions angle. So I'd start prepping defence around that.

 

As you have said, the employer acts within the law. Legal and fair are not the same.

 

I think your friend has painted a target on his back.

Edited by Emmzzi

Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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You've been most helpful, Emmzzi, thanks!

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bank holidays are not statutory public holidays so staffing arrangements very much a local matter. Now peopel will need to read up on their terms of employment and see what it says about overtime, it may be that the wording gives the employer an advantage in making it almost compulsory or they may have just compounded an existing long running problem by acting hastily and will be happy to look at things again once the wording of the employment contract has been raked over

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The company is shooting itself in the foot.

Giving a suspension for this sort of things only wastes more resources.

If they went all the way in sacking them, they would inevitably have to pay compensation at ET.

Advising staff of their rights is not an offence at any level, in fact if i was representing these guys i would insist that the employer should advise employees of their rights rather than reduce them. 

As there are many people involved, why don't you approach a union and start joining?

So next trouble you could be covered.

The employer then would have to listen, even if they don't recognise the union as many do (don't ask me what it means because it's an employers' secret).

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4 hours ago, king12345 said:

 

The employer then would have to listen, even if they don't recognise the union as many do (don't ask me what it means because it's an employers' secret).

 

It’s not secret: it means the union can negotiate in bulk on behalf of employees on stuff like policy and pay, and have rights to be consulted.


Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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I meant it's a secret how some employers don't recognise a union and get away with it.

Some employers here should be kind enough to reveal what it means: "we don't recognise your union".

Heard that many times but never had an explanation on the meaning of it.

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http://m.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4018

 

under 21 workers

less than 10% workforce members

havent asked to be recognised

havent served formal notice

 

Literally not secret at all.

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Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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Many employers still say "we don't recognise your union" despite all of the above being done and dusted.

I guess is just a wind up sentence with which they start every meeting. 

"We don't recognise your union but we'll listen to what you have to say"

Total rubbish 

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There’s a clear legal/court process though. And it’s there because you can’t collectively bargain with multiple unions who want different things. You’d never be done.

 

I get that you think all management is evil, but the workers/ unions have to do their bit too. Also, you seem to have managed to acquire every bad manager in the country.

 

Generally it isn’t 1970s down tools and have a strike out here any more :) 

 

 


Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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Macmay

 

It is in your friends best interest for them to seek their own employment legal advice, because it will depend on their personal conduct, length of employment, contract of employment etc.

 

If you have a workforce forming what is their own ad-hoc workplace Union with representatives, then they are putting themselves in a difficult position. If they are seen to unreasonably disrupt the employers business, by encouraging staff to not volunteer to work on a Bank Holiday, then this could be sufficient misconduct for the business to sack them. If it was a health & safety issue, with insufficient supervisors on a Bank Holiday or insufficient staff to meet H&S requirements, then the actions to encourage staff to not work, would seem reasonable. But to encourage not working, because they think pay should be higher than stated in a contract is a different matter. 

 

This is more complicated than you would think. I think the friend needs better advice based on full facts. If they are of an age, where finding a new job would be difficult anyway, they need to deal with this matter properly by getting legal advice.


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The op said that overtime is not compulsory,  so not accepting it cannot be seen as a form of sabotage, otherwise they would need to change the contract and make overtime compulsory (which would inevitably open a larger  can of worms).

Relying on workers doing optional overtime is risky gambling and a business should consider the possibility of everyone at once deciding not to do the optional overtime.

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Thanks for all the info. I've fed this back to him and we're waiting to see the outcome of the investigation before we go further. Thanks again for giving me some insight into the matter.

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