§ Mr. Alex Carlile
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what consideration she has given to the implications of the recent Court of Appeal ruling that companies which grant pay rises only to employees accepting personal contracts are in contravention of the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978 for employment practices in the United Kingdom; and if she will make a statement.
§ Mr. Michael Forsyth
We have given careful consideration to the recent Court of Appeal decisions on this issue. As a result of these judgments, the law on action short of dismissal, which is now contained in section 146 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, has been left in a state of some confusion. Section 146 was never intended to interfere in an employer's freedom to determine negotiating arrangements that best suit his business needs.
In order to clarify the law on action short of dismissal, we have therefore introduced an amendment to the Trade Union Reform and Employment Rights Bill, which completed its stages in another place on Monday 24 May. This provision makes it clear that action taken by an employer for the purpose of changing his negotiating arrangements is not action taken against an individual within the scope of section 146.