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Employer not allowed to write to employees directly after union's collective ballot rejected

An employment tribunal has held that an employer's attempt to bypass a recognised trade union by negotiating directly with individual employees amounted to unlawful inducement.

When a package of pay increases, a Christmas bonus, and some detrimental changes to terms and conditions was rejected in a consultative ballot, the company wrote to all employees directly offering the same package, and posted a notice stating that if employees did not agree to the new terms, they would forfeit the Christmas bonus. The notice also indicated how many employees had accepted the offer and expressly referred to trade union representatives and union members who had accepted the revised terms. The company subsequently wrote again to employees referring to dismissal as a possible outcome if agreement could not be reached.

The tribunal found that the company could not make offers to members of a recognised trade union where the purpose of the offer is to cease collective bargaining.

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