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Employment Law Services Ltd

Collective Agreements

Section 1 of the Employments Rights Act 1996 lists a number of pieces of information that must be given, in writing, to an employee within the first 2 months of employment. One of the requirements is to state whether or not any collective agreements directly affect the terms and conditions of the employee’s employment. (see PAYG link).

It is unusual to see collective agreements within the private sector. Historically in certain industries or business sectors, the rates of pay and conditions of employment have largely been set through collective agreements negotiated by trade unions and employers (or relevant employers associations). Examples of this type of arrangement can be found in local government, and teaching.

A collective agreement may form the basis, or part of, an employee’s contract of employment if it has been agreed that it should do so. Terms set out in a collective agreement may be included within an individual’s contract of employment when the contract expressly says so, or if it has been implied by standard custom within that particular industry. This may apply even if the individual employee does not agree with the terms negotiated and even if the individual employee has left the union that negotiated them.

However, not all provisions of a collective agreement will become incorporated into the individual’s contract of employment, such as a “no strike” clause, and in a case involving the Rover group a clause stating that “there will be no compulsory redundancy” was ruled not to apply to the individual contracts of employment. In general collective agreements should be examined by employees in the public sector if there is any question over their employment rights.

 

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