UK employment law experts required please?

7 weeks ago exactly I started a new job with a small, family-run firm. There are 5 managers (4 of whom belong to the family) and 5 other staff. Why they need so many managers, goodness knows, jobs for the boys I guess. Anyway, today the managing director announced that as of this week they were increasing our working hours - an hour extra on Saturdays, and 2 extra hours on Sundays (all the non-managerial staff work alternate weekends though strangely none of the managers work weekends at all). We - the non-managerial staff - are absolutely fuming. The problem is that none of us have ever been given contracts although they are always promised to be ready shortly. Some staff have been there over a year without being given a contract. The management has got wind of our fury and the MD has arranged one-to-one meetings with us on Wednesday. We wanted a group meeting but he won't have it; I guess he feels it will be easier to beat us down this way.

Any UK employment law experts out there who can help us with our rights please? The company is a bit chaotic, they frequently pay us late and lose important my bank details when I started. Most of us are prepared to tell the MD that we would rather quit than give up even more of our weekends and that none of us have any intention of working the extra hours, but I quite like my job and I would hope to say the right things to make them see that it won't do anything to motivate the already demoralised staff. I've started a list of things to say in my meeting (bullying session?) - what should I add to it?


Thanks Bobozac, Acas is on our list of contacts if necessary.

Update 2:

Thank you Waldo. I think, deep down inside, I am resigned to looking for another job. One of my co-workers is handing her notice in tomorrow, and another is doing so at the end of the month (already planned), I wonder how the business will function with no staff...

4 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    My sympathies for you.I have encountered the dark side of the small business sector - i.e family businesses.For what it is worth I have some experience with one such - employing idiot sons and daughters -in-law and paying household bills out of company accounts.Company strategy worked out over the Sunday lunch table with the workers advised (at best) Monday morning.

    That part you are entitled to a written contract 13 weeks after you start work.They can change your terms but they are only binding if you agree and if you do not you can resign.I am afraid that is it.

    My advice get out of there as soon as you can.Family loyalites wil overrule business imperatives even if they can construct a business plan going forward.Best of luck.

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  • 4 years ago

    Yes the workplace is at fault for changing the chemicals but she has every right to leave and get work elsewhere. Why is she waiting to do that? It depends on if your state is has a "work at will" law or not. If they do then the employer can drop her from the employment list at the drop of a hat. They probably don't want to do that because they will have to pay unemployment compensation for her. They probably fear she would sue them for their illness. I don't know if they would win in court or not. But gee if she's sick she should look elsewhere for work. But yes, they can force her out. I'm in the US and each state has their own employment office here. Healthcare is a good thing to get into right now, as well as teaching.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It's a bad time to give up paid employment so don't cut your nose to spite your face. However, your employer cannot change your terms and conditions of employment without your agreement. Even without a written contract, if you have been working for a length of time, you have an agreed pattern of work. Beware that someone with less than 12 months employment has less job security than if they had worked 12 months when employment law protects that worker.

    Why not give ACAS a call and talk to one of their advisors ??

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  • 1 decade ago

    If they are breaking the rules ,such as not giving a contract or changing the working hours, and you decide to resign, this can be taken as "constructive dismissal" and if you are prepared to take them to court you might receive some compensation.

    If they have not given you a contract, you are stil working your probation therefore not obliged to work the notice period.

    Good luck

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