An employee has won £17,000 for unfair constructive dismissal, after refusing to accept a pay cut

An employment tribunal hearing heard that the employee of driver recruitment agency since 2008 refused a request from the company to cut his hours in half.  In 2015 he initially started working at the agency 40 hours a week, had his hours reduced to 32.

In 2017 the Managing Director then proposed that he should reduce his working hours from 32 to 16, with the reason being the agency’s loss of two contracts and a quiet period. This would have resulted in the driver losing £205 a week.

After reviewing his financial commitments, the employee was unable to afford the reduction and proposed a reduction from 32 to 24 hours, if his day rate increased from £102.97 to £110.00. He then confirmed the days which would work for him, alongside the revised day rate, via email. The MD responded, saying he would have “this” sorted, which was construed as acceptance of his proposal.

However, in June, the Managing Director reneged on the deal and offered a new contract which had to be signed. The employee handed in his resignation as a result of the enforced reduction in pay. The tribunal ruled “that a reduction of this magnitude was a serious matter” for the employee and that his employer “had fundamentally breached” his employment contract.

He was awarded £16,852.12 for unfair constructive dismissal. This included a basic award of £4,942.92 for his eight years of continuous employment at the company and a compensatory award of £11,882.20, which was increased by 10% for the employer’s breach of the Acas code.

The tribunal found the company had failed to comply with the Acas code of practice and said that the failure to treat the employee’s disagreement with the pay cut as a grievance. The judge ruled his response “fell short”.

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