The Transfer of Undertaking (Protection of Employment) Regulations will affect many technology, communications and digital services workers during the course of their working life as organisations merge or are acquired, or when IT services contracts change from one provider to another.
At its most basic level, TUPE is supposed to ensure that your contractual terms and conditions (except for pensions) are transferred to the new employer unchanged. However employers can make changes for what are called Economic, Technical & Organisational (ETO) Reasons.
Unlike for redundancy, employers are required by law to consult with affected employees.
Both from an individual and collective perspective TUPE can be a complex process and its VERY important to have the right support and access to independent expertise.
Without the support of a trade union, how would you know if:
- Your employer was failing to apply your TUPE rights.
- Your new employer could legally change any of your terms and conditions.
- A benefit your new employer claimed was non-contractual and therefore not protected by TUPE, really was non-contractual!
- You were being put into scope of a TUPE transfer incorrectly.
Unite London ITC members have access to the required support to help them through the issues listed above and more.
In all cases, we recommend that members:
- Contact Unite for advice at the earliest opportunity if your employer is subject to a merger, takeover or acquisition or the IT service/account you work on is changing providers (You should do this even if your employer has told you that TUPE does not apply as Unite may have a different view!)
- Volunteer or nominate themselves to be employee consultation reps where no union is recognised (we STRONGLY advise this). The consultation process is absolutely vital to ensure the transfer is performed correctly and all of your benefits travel to the new employer with you. It’s much more effective and easier for Unite to support you performing an employee representative role than trying to assist you as an individual member after the consultation has finished, by which time some well meaning but in-experienced employee representative has potentially agreed to things they shouldn’t have.
- Keep your own records of contracts of employment, changes to terms and conditions, Bonus scheme rules, Redundancy Policies, etc. Having your own copies of these can be vital if TUPE applies, don’t rely on HR to keep copies for you!
The London ITC Branch subscribes to the Labour Research Department who produce a very useful legal guide about TUPE written in plain English. Its accessible online by all branch members, If you are affected by TUPE, we STRONGLY recommend you read it.