TUPE - a union rep’s guide to using the law (November 2017)



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The Transfer of Undertaking (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) were introduced to protect the rights of employees on a compulsory change of their employer, for example, when the business where they work is sold, or when a service contract on which they are assigned to work changes hands.

TUPE was changed in important ways in January 2014 by the Collective Redundancies and Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Amendment Regulations 2014 (CRTUPEA). The CRTUPEA regulations apply in England Wales and Scotland, but not Northern Ireland.

The CRTUPEA regulations downgraded the protection provided to employees by TUPE. The new regulations were designed to encourage private and voluntary sector organisations to bid for outsourced public services by making it easier and quicker to dismiss employees or change their terms and conditions after a transfer, especially where those terms are negotiated by trade unions under a collective agreement. The weakening of TUPE protection was followed by another significant rise in levels of public service outsourcing. 2016 saw a 45% increase in local authority outsourcing contracts year-on-year, while in the first six months of 2017, the total value of outsourcing deals across the UK rose to £5.2 billion.

Even in its scaled down form, TUPE provides valuable rights, including key statutory representation rights. Union reps need a thorough understanding of the TUPE framework to be able to extract the most benefit from these rights on behalf of the members they represent.

This new TUPE guide for union reps uses straightforward language to explain the key features of TUPE legislation, with a summary in Chapter 1, followed by more detail in the remaining chapters. The guide also brings reps up to date with the latest TUPE cases.

This guide is intended to give reps and union members a broad overview of their legal rights, so that they know what questions to ask and can navigate their way around a complex area of law. The booklet does not contain legal advice and must not be relied on as such.

This information is copyright to the Labour Research Department (LRD) and may not be reproduced without the permission of the LRD.