TUPE Collective Agreements: Understanding the Basics
When a business undergoes a transfer of ownership or a merger or acquisition, it can bring about changes that affect its employees’ rights and working conditions. The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) was introduced to safeguard the interests of employees in such situations. TUPE collective agreements are an important aspect of this legislation that employers and employees need to understand.
What are TUPE collective agreements?
Collective agreements are made between a trade union or employee representative and an employer. They set out the terms and conditions of employment for a group of employees. TUPE collective agreements specifically refer to agreements that are in place when a business is transferred, and they have important implications for all parties involved.
Under TUPE, any collective agreements that are in place at the time of the transfer will automatically transfer to the new employer. This means that the new employer will have to honour the terms and conditions of the collective agreement until it expires or is renegotiated. The employees covered by the agreement will also transfer to the new employer, maintaining their employment status and rights.
Why are TUPE collective agreements important?
TUPE collective agreements play a crucial role in protecting the rights of employees during a transfer of ownership. They ensure that employees are not disadvantaged by a change in ownership and that their terms and conditions of employment are preserved. This can include pay, hours of work, holiday entitlement, sick pay, and other benefits.
For employers, TUPE collective agreements provide certainty and stability during a time of change. By honouring existing collective agreements, employers can maintain good relationships with employees and avoid disputes or legal challenges.
How are TUPE collective agreements negotiated?
TUPE collective agreements are negotiated between the employer and employee representatives or trade unions. The employer is required to inform employee representatives of the transfer and consult with them about any proposed changes to their terms and conditions of employment. This includes any changes to existing collective agreements.
If the employer intends to change the terms of a TUPE collective agreement, they must consult with the employee representatives or trade unions and try to reach an agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached, the dispute may be referred to the Employment Tribunal for resolution.
TUPE collective agreements are an important aspect of the transfer of ownership legislation in the UK. They protect the rights of employees during a change in ownership and ensure that their terms and conditions of employment are maintained. Employers should be aware of their obligations under TUPE and consult with employee representatives or trade unions to negotiate any changes to existing collective agreements. By doing so, they can maintain good relationships with employees and avoid disputes or legal challenges.