LRD Booklets September 2020

Defending terms and conditions - a legal guide for union reps



[page 3]

This LRD guide explains the laws available to unions organising to defend terms and conditions and shares examples of successfully negotiated gains and useful resources. There are more examples in LRD’s monthly publications, Workplace Report and Labour Research.

This guide is written against the backdrop of the coronavirus emergency, when unions have been organising successfully in the UK and around the world, helping to keep workers safe and protecting their jobs and terms and conditions.

The aim of this guide is to provide negotiating support for reps, particularly over this period but also more generally.

• Chapter 1 explains the role of contractual rights, rights to protection from unlawful deduction of wages and unfair dismissal when defending terms and conditions;

• Chapter 2 summarises important statutory rights that set a minimum floor below which the employer must not fall;

• Chapter 3 looks at how equality rights can be used to defend terms and conditions, including rights under the Equality Act 2010 and additional rights for fixed-term employees, part-time and agency workers;

• Chapter 4 summarises the duty to consult collectively under section 188 which is triggered when an employer threatens to dismiss 20 or more employees and to re-engage them on inferior terms and conditions;

• Chapter 5 summarises key trade union rights, including the right to information to support collective bargaining and for union members not to be offered an inducement to end collective bargaining; and

• Chapter 6 identifies some key bargaining strategies available to unions to defend terms and conditions.

We’ve done our best to make sure the guide is correct as of September 2020, but it is not legal advice. Members who need legal advice should contact their own union. Employment tribunal deadlines are very short, so it is very important not to delay asking for help and advice if you need it.