Post Office Workers in Landmark Victory over Monthly Pay
Postal workers have recorded a ‘landmark’ legal victory after an employment tribunal found their employer was unable to impose a change of pay schedule from weekly to monthly without their explicit consent.
In a case that may have broader ramifications in the postal service and beyond, two employees took the Post Office to tribunal through their union after it announced that it intended to move 1,230 employees onto a new salary schedule.
While both said they had emphatically rejected the new contractual variations before they came into effect, the Post Office argued that, as both employees continued to attend work and receive pay, they had accepted the change. It added that as the employees had not made it clear they were “working under protest”, and as they had accepted loans from their employer, they had implicitly agreed to the changes.
However, the tribunal rejected this argument, ruling that, by not paying the workers each week, the Post Office had subjected them to an unlawful deduction of wages. It additionally found the pair were entitled to be paid every week – and for every Friday they were not paid, the Post Office would be in breach of contract.
The tribunal found there was no right to vary the contract in this way. The fact that the employees had worked on ‘under protest’ did not mean they had accepted the change.”
An employer only has the right to impose a variation such as this where the contract clearly allows it, and by working on under protest the employees retained their right to hold the employer to their original terms and conditions.