Disputes, Strikes & Grievances
Rights and responsibilities for disgruntled workers
This section addresses both employers' and employees' rights regarding the topics of:
A strike is when an employee or group of employees enforce a break in their work as an official demonstration. "Industrial action short of a strike", as described in the section 229(2) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, may include an overtime ban, or conducting a rest-day working for the purpose of authorizing industrial action.
If an employee is taking part in unofficial strike action at the time of their dismissal then their employer is immune from any unfair dismissal claim, unless the dismissal was for a reason deemed automatically unfair.
If employees take part in official strike action then it may be possible for the employer to fairly dismiss all of said employees. However, the dismissal(s) will be automatically unfair if the employer selectively dismisses certain members of staff or bases the dismissal on an automatically unfair reason.
This will include the circumstance where the strike action was official and the relevant union satisfied all the steps required to make the strike action protected, but the employees are dismissed within the first 12 weeks of the strike action.
Discipline and Grievances
Grievances are complaints, issues or concerns which employees may wish to raise within the workplace.
ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) has a recommended Code of Practice for disciplinary and grievance procedures, known as ‘the Code’. The purpose of the Code is to lay out simple rules which both the employer and employee should follow to handle matters effectively.
Concerns that an employee may have to raise grievances about include:
- terms of employment
- working conditions
- unfair pay
- disagreements and disputes
It is important that both the employer and employee follow the ACAS code in the continuation of the case. If the employer does not follow the Acas Code any award made against them as a result of a successful employment tribunal claim may see the damages awarded against them increased by up to 25%. Similarly if an employee does not follow the code they risk any award made to them being reduced by up to 25%.
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