Many commuters breathed a huge sigh of relief on Monday when unions called off two 24-hour tube strikes planned for this week. However, an overall resolution to the dispute has not yet been reached, and the unions have put forward new strike dates of 8 and 10 September if a deal is not done by then. But how do you roll out an unfavourable change to employment terms in a non-unionised workforce?
Although it is unusual for employers to introduce such a radical change in terms as is being fought over with tube workers (introducing night shifts), it is far more common for employers to want to make less extreme but “detrimental” changes – for example, in terms of working hours, by switching staff from say, a 9-5 working day to an 8.30-5.30 day.
So how should you go about rolling out such a change?
As a starting point, check what the affected employees’ employment contracts say. It may be that there is specific provision for making the type of change you want to by just telling them that the change is happening.
Next, make sure that the key decision-makers at the employer are all agreed on how much risk you want to take here, as the main options for making changes have varying levels of risk:
Like many employee relations matters, when planning such a change, consider how you can present the change and communicate it to your staff. Often employees are more likely to be receptive to change if they feel like there are good reasons for it, and that they have been given the option to input into the change process.