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Can they just change our contracts and basically reduce our salaries by three quarters?

(7 Posts)
phoebebouffet Fri 01-Jul-11 20:39:07

Hi I work for a charity and currently on maternity leave, I've heard on the grapevine (noone has officially informed me) that because things are so bad financially they only want to pay us a flat rate + a certain amount for days we actually work, we are currently salaried. The problem being, we work in primary schools so we simply cannot work in the school holidays when schools are closed. So for eg our August salary would simply be £500 (the proposed flat rate) less tax which is about 1/4 of our current salary.

Is this constructive dismissal? It looks to me like they want to get rid of us but have no money to actually make us redundant so are just trying to force us out.

The other thing that's confusing me is one of my colleagues offered to take voluntary redundancy and they turned her down???? Why would they do that?

Also, they expect me to attend meetings to discuss these matters, whilst on mat leave - surely they can't do this can they, they would never pay me to do so - there's no money!

Any advice greatly appreciated, I can't afford to live on this!

Al1son Fri 01-Jul-11 21:14:12

I think you need to get some professional advice. Start with the ACAS website.

DH's company did this to him a couple of years ago (they cut his salary by one third) and he was told that they could do it as they were doing it to everyone in the company who was in that role. If he was the only one he would have had a case for constructive dismissal.

We couldn't afford to live on his new salary and still have big credit card debts as a result. Fortunately he move to a new and much more ethical company a few months ago so there is now a light at the end of the tunnel.

I hope you find a way to manage.

Northernlurker Fri 01-Jul-11 21:42:07

They don't want to make you or anyone redundant because they can't if the role is still in operation and obviously they intend to keep operating just at reduced overheads. Times are dreadful for charities tbh. Yes you may very well feel forced out by this. I would start looking elsewhere.

meditrina Fri 01-Jul-11 21:55:05

Is the financial position really that dire?

If they were acting capriciously, it would be clearly wrong, but if this is the lesser of two evils (the other being the charity folding) then the situation is rather different.

Looking for another post would be prudent. Obviously salvage what you can from this, but if they haven't the cash then you have to be pragmatic, horrible though that prospect might be.

StillSquiffy Sun 03-Jul-11 16:02:32

What's the difference in salary on an annualised basis, assuming you do the current average workload stays the same? Are you effectively going to be earning more during term times? If they have the money to pay but don't want to and are changing the payment method just so as to give them more flexibility, then it is important to determine what the material financial impact is across a whole year, not just the holidays (when presumably you do no work at all). That will be the key to assessing how 'unfair' it is... although as the others have pointed out companies do have some powers to unilaterally change everyone's contracts.

phoebebouffet Wed 03-Aug-11 21:54:58

Hi I'd forgotten I'd posted this, thanks for replying everyone, still in talks. Current salary could potentially be the same if i get enough bookings but there are so many other what ifs? and circumstances beyond our control. We have a van and there are often technichal problems,

I've spoken to ACAS they said they need to give us appropriate notice and I need to make an objection in writing and take it from there and advised me to get legal advice.

SpamMarie Tue 23-Aug-11 21:02:31

My previous company cut my pay by 10% and then by another 10% a couple of months later. I literally could not afford to work at that rate, as it wasn't very well paid to begin with. Both times they gave us no notice. They acted like they gave us 2 weeks' notice (which is not legally enough) but actually there was none because of what day of the month our salary was paid (2 weeks in lieu). Rather than fight it, I found another job. I was young and naive and didn't know my rights. I could have easily taken them to tribunal, and won armed with my dated official letters, and got back my cut wages (even though I had left the company). But I didn't discover this until it was too late. On the plus side, it did make it particularly easy to decide whether or not to accept my current job position, and I've never looked back.

I realise that cuts and redundancies are necessary sometimes, but they have to give you proper notice by law, so don't let them take the piss.

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