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‘Zero hour contracts unlawful’ rules tribunal

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A series of ‘zero hour’ contracts have been deemed unlawful by an employment tribunal after staff at a Humberside car company successfully claimed for unfair dismissal.

Workers at Paragon Automotive took objection to their employer’s zero hour working policy after their previous contracts of 40 or 50 hours a week were cancelled. The new contracts would have given Paragon full autonomy over the hours worked by staff.

Paragon maintained that the economy’s blows to business output meant such “draconian” measures were needed. But after consulting their union, the 17 workers sought legal action to challenge the tabled contracts.

According to the group’s solicitor, the new agreements “provide no certainty for the workers and can provide absolute power to the employer”. The 17 union members signed the contracts on the condition that staff would launch an immediate unfair dismissal claim, although 63 non-union workers launched no formal objection.

The staff and tribunal felt that, as Paragon brought their old, detailed, contracts to an end, it thereby ended their employment and put into place a flexible contract.

Following two separate employment tribunals, 15 Paragon workers reached an out-of-court settlement which secured reinstatement to their original contracts, while two staff members won compensation in front of a Leeds tribunal.

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Written by Andrew Hodges

February 16, 2010 at 6:55 pm

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , , ,

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